Lebanon News

As Meqdads warn diplomacy's chances receding, Turkish hostage falls ill

BEIRUT: A Turkish businessman kidnapped by the Meqdad clan in Lebanon so as to be swapped for a relative held in Syria was given medication by a doctor Monday after falling ill, the clan's spokesman told The Daily Star Monday.

Aydin Tufan Tekin “was given a number of medications by a doctor who visited him twice yesterday and today,” Maher Meqdad said.

Meqdad said the doctor’s visits came at the request of the Turkish hostage. When asked about the nature of Tekin's illness, Meqdad said he was unfamiliar with the details.

The Meqdad clan kidnapped Tekin in Beirut Wednesday as well as over 20 Syrians in retaliation for the recent abduction by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) of kinsman Hassan Meqdad in Damascus.

Another Turkish citizen, Abdel-Basset Orslan, was kidnapped at dawn Friday, but the Meqdad family has denied involvement in his abduction.

In his remarks to The Daily Star, Maher Meqdad vowed Tukin would not be released unless Hassan is freed. He also warned that the clan would take action after Eid al-Fitr if Hassan is not released.

“The Meqdad family has decided to give diplomacy a chance,” Maher told The Daily Star by telephone.

“But if diplomacy fails, the story will be different,” he stressed, adding that he will announce the clan’s future course of action during a news conference Thursday, “when the holiday is over.”

Maher said Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour asked the Medqads to give the Lebanese government the opportunity to pursue a diplomatic solution until after the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

He would not specify what action the Meqdads might take in the event Meqdad is not freed.

“The family will meet after the holiday and make decisions,” he said, adding that the measures taken by the Meqdads would be carried out by the clan’s armed wing.

Asked whether this meant a return to kidnappings, Maher said: “Everything [will be decided] in good time.”

The Meqdads announced before Eid al-Fitr that they are holding over 20 Syrians in addition to Tekin. They said that they had released over 20 Syrians after determining that the men were not affiliated with the FSA.

As for Hassan Meqdad, little is known of the circumstances of his captivity. Al-Arabiya television station reported Tuesday that the FSA arrested Hassan, whom it described as a Hezbollah member who crossed into Syria as part of a 1,500-strong group, the members of which later dispersed to Damascus, Aleppo and Homs.

The Dubai-based TV channel aired what it described as “confessions” by Hassan regarding his alleged involvement in hostilities in Syria.

Hassan, who was shown in the video with three armed FSA members standing behind him, said that Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah asked him and others to go to Syria and fight alongside the Syrian regime.

It is unknown whether Hassan made his statements under duress. The Meqdads and Hezbollah deny that he is a member of the resistance party.





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