Lebanon News

Meqdads: If relative killed, Turkish hostage to die

Hatem Meqdad, a member of the Meqdad family that claims to have kidnapped Syrian rebels in Lebanon, speaks to reporters on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: A Lebanese clan, which has kidnapped over 30 Syrians and a Turkish man in retaliation for the abduction of one of its members in Damascus, said Thursday it would kill the Turkish hostage if Hassan were killed.

"If they kill Hassan Meqdad, the first person we will kill is the Turkish man [Aidan Toufan]," said Maher Meqdad.

Speaking to The Daily Star in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Meqdad also threatened further kidnappings.

“We have a slew of targets,” he said, but added that the clan would only kidnap Turkish nationals and Syrians affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“Kidnappings will not be undertaken in a chaotic way; we will not kidnap any Syrian before we are certain he is affiliated to the FSA,” Meqdad said.

On Wednesday, over two dozen Syrians and a Turkish national were kidnapped by the Meqdad clan in retaliation for the abduction in Damascus of Hassan.



Meqdad also said that Interior Minister Marwan Charbel would fail in his negotiations with the clan Thursday, saying: “Just like Foreign Affairs Minister [Adnan Mansour] failed, so will the interior minister in his meeting [Thursday].

Charbel is expected to meet with representatives of the Meqdad clan Thursday in a bid to secure the release of the abductees in Lebanon.

A clan member who preferred to remain anonymous said that Charbel “was not welcome.”

Maher Meqdad also said that the clan will be more selective in choosing its targets and admitted that mistakes occurred Wednesday when the spree of kidnappings took place.

On Tuesday, Al-Arabiya television reported that Hassan, whom it described as a member of Hezbollah, was detained by the FSA in Syria. Hezbollah denies Hassan is a member of the resistance group, as does the Meqdad clan.



On another note, Meqdad stressed that his clan is “an entity totally independent of Hezbollah” and that it does not take orders from any party.

On Thursday, 11 Syrians were kidnapped, 10 of them by the Al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi group who demanded the release of 11 Lebanese pilgrims who were kidnapped in Syria on May 22.

The group also warned that it would kidnap any Syrian opposition member in support of Syrian rebels.





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