Relatives of Pilgrims Scuffle with Soldiers Near Turkish Embassyإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The families of nine Lebanese pilgrims held hostage in Syria since May last year scuffled on Tuesday with army troops during a protest they held near the Turkish embassy in Rabieh.
Dozens of soldiers and policemen were deployed to prevent the crowd from reaching the mission.
But the scuffle erupted after the protesters asked the troops to withdraw from the area and leave law enforcement to security forces.
They later erected tents near the embassy, saying they will not remove them until their loved ones are released.
“We advise the Turkish state to withdraw its interests from Lebanon and ask Turkish companies to leave Lebanon until our relatives return,” said Adham Zgheib in the name of the families.
Sheikh Abbas Zgheib, who has been tasked by the Higher Islamic Shiite Council to follow up the case, condemned what he called the attack on the protesters, saying it was the duty of the state and mainly the army to protect them.
The angry protesters staged a sit-in on Monday at the Karantina fish market and prevented Turkish refrigerated trucks from unloading their shipments.
Last week, the families of the pilgrims stopped Syrian workers in Beirut and its suburbs from going to work in a bid to put pressure on those holding their relatives.
Eleven men were kidnapped in May 2012 in northern Syria's Aleppo province as they returned by land from a pilgrimage in Iran. Two of them were released in August and September.
They were later taken to the Aleppo town of Aazaz.
The kidnapping was claimed by a man who identified himself as Abu Ibrahim and says he is a member of the rebel Free Syrian Army, but the opposition group denies any involvement in the abductions.