FSA Resumes Mediation on Kidnapped Pilgrims, Saqr Says Hizbullah Disapproves a Release via Haririإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The rebel Free Syrian Army announced on Wednesday that it has resumed its mediation concerning the Lebanese abductees in Syria's Aazaz at the request of ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
“(The head of the FSA) Riad al-Asaad has worked very hard on this issue and al-Farouq battalion even surrendered its weapons to release the kidnapped Lebanese,” al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Oqab Saqr said in an interview on Future TV.
The FSA's Political and Media Coordinator Louay Meqdad revealed during the interview that he will head a delegation to Aazaz on Thursday to follow-up on this issue.
An audio tape was also played during Saqr's TV appearance disclosing talks between him and al-Asaad in which they apparently discuss the efforts made to release the pilgrims.
“Hezbullah does not want them to be released thanks to our efforts,” the Mustaqbal MP expressed, adding that they have pursued their mediation regardless of the party's position.
Saqr said: “I have repeatedly asked to directly talk with the kidnappers via Skype and have set up communication devices for this purpose but it was never possible as the regime kept bombing these locations”.
Meqdad had announced in December 2012 that he will stop mediating for the release of the Lebanese pilgrims kidnapped in Aazaz, explaining that the army's commanders' efforts are being interrupted by a “partner” each time they get closer to a solution.
On May 22, eleven Lebanese pilgrims were kidnapped in Syria's Aleppo district as they were making their way back by land from a pilgrimage in Iran.
One was released in late August and another in September, while the rest remain in Aazaz, Syria.
Concerning his alleged relation with members of the FSA, Saqr said he cannot deny it as “they are the ones helping in delivering aid to the Syrian people”, explaining that even international organizations rely on the rebels' access to enter food and clothes to the war-torn country.
As for arming the rebels, Saqr said they are getting weapons from defected Syrian army officers and from March 8 alliance's political figures.
"My role in Syria is limited to following-up on issues related to Lebanon, providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians and mediating for the release of foreign journalists detained there,” the Bekaa's Zahle MP stated.