Syria Frees Two Lebanese Men Abducted from al-Abboudiyehإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syrian authorities on Sunday released two Lebanese citizens abducted by Syrian forces on Wednesday from the northern border town of al-Abboudiyeh.
The abduction led to an uproar in the region and prompted residents to block the international highway.
A statement issued by the Army Command on Sunday said “as a result of the exerted efforts, citizens Mohammed Yassine al-Merehbi and Mahdi Hamdan were freed this afternoon, after they were arrested on May 30, 2012 by Syrian forces in the al-Abboudiyeh area on the northern border.”
“The joint cooperation and coordination bureau of the Lebanese and Syrian armies handed them over to the (Lebanese army’s) Intelligence Directorate at the al-Masnaa border crossing, and they were released following the necessary legal measures,” the army’s statement added.
For his part, Higher Lebanese-Syrian Council Secretary-General Nasri Khouri told state-run National News Agency that he handed over the abductees to the military bureau.
NNA said the Akkar region was preparing to celebrate the return of the two men.
Arab Democratic Party Secretary-General Rifaat Eid said Saturday the abductees would be released shortly.
“Mohammed Yassine al-Merehbi and Mahdi Hamdan will be in Lebanon in the next few hours,” he said after his party mediated for their release.
On Thursday, President Michel Suleiman urged the Syrian authorities to release the two farmers.
The Syrian army also kidnapped Yehya Mohammed Fleiti in the border town of Arsal on Thursday afternoon.
“The rise in the rate of kidnappings and killings along the Lebanese-Syrian border is rejected,” Suleiman said.
He urged the Lebanese and Syrian authorities to carry out the necessary investigations regarding the issue to “halt any recurrence.”
“Respecting Lebanon and Syria’s sovereignty falls in the best interest of the security and peace of both countries,” Suleiman said.
The two men, who were cultivating a grove, were "kidnapped by five armed men who crossed into Lebanon from across the Syrian border," NNA reported.
In a statement on Wednesday, the opposition Syrian National Council accused the Syrian regime of "escalating its breaches of the Lebanese borders (and of) increasing its armed attacks targeting Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees."
The SNC also accused the Syrian regime of "kidnapping Syrian wounded patients from hospitals" in northern Lebanon, while also accusing "the regime's mercenaries of setting up checkpoints inside Lebanese territory."
The statement called for "people kidnapped on Lebanese territory by mercenaries of the Syrian regime to be set free."