BEIRUT: The spokesman of the Meqdad clan said Friday a Turkish hostage and four Syrians held by the tribe are missing after Lebanese soldiers raided an area they were allegedly held in.
Maher al-Meqdad told The Daily Star he knew nothing on the whereabouts of Turkish national Aydin Tekin and four Syrians who were kidnapped by the clan last month in response to the abduction of a clan member by anti-regime rebels in Syria.
The army deployed in the Meqdad neighborhood in the Beirut southern suburb of Roueiss after a personal feud broke out between a member of the Meqdads and another from the Srour family, said Maher.
Sheikh Hasan al-Meqdad, Maher’s brother, was interfering to end the fight when he was arrested by Army soldiers, he added.
“The sheikh interfered to settle the dispute but the army suddenly deployed and arrested him along with others. He had nothing to do with the fight. He was just trying to help,” Maher said.
“When the army realized the sheikh had nothing to do with the feud, they wanted to release him, but an unknown third party fired shots on army troops that were deployed in the area, and the army responded by raiding the neighborhood,” he added.
The clan could not locate any of the five hostages after the raid took place, Maher said, adding that they were also not in army custody.
A military source told Al-Jadeed television the Army has not “freed any of the hostages.”
Maher said the Meqdad clan did not want any trouble with the Army, adding that a “third party” was trying to trigger a clash between the clan and Army troops.
The Meqdads had earlier threatened to kill the Turkish hostage if Hassan al-Meqdad was killed by his Syrian captors.
The clan initiated a spate of kidnappings in the country last month in what they said was an attempt to pressure Hassan’s captors to release him.
Eleven Lebanese Shiites were also kidnapped by rebels in northern Syria last May on their way back from a pilgrimage in Iran. Hussein Omar, one of the 11, was released late last month in what was described as a “goodwill gesture” from the captors following negotiations that included Lebanese and Turkish officials.
Efforts are still ongoing to secure the release of the remaining 10 and Hassan al-Meqdad.