BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah urged calm Tuesday after news of the abduction of at least 13 Lebanese in Syria and said contacts were under way with Syrian authorities and others to help resolve the matter.
“On behalf of Hezbollah and Amal I call on all relatives and supporters in the various regions to cooperate to end the closure of roads. Blocking roads does no good,” Nasrallah, who spoke on Al-Manar TV, said, expressing concern of attempts to stir conflict between the people and the Lebanese Army or “take the country to some place else.”
Lebanese security sources told The Daily Star that at least 13 Lebanese men returning from a pilgrimage to Shiite holy shrines in Iraq were kidnapped by Syrian rebels near the city of Aleppo in north Syria.
Upon hearing the news, angry relatives took to the streets of the southern suburb of Beirut where most of the kidnapped live and blocked several roads by burning tires.
“The priority now is how to resolve the issue. We and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri will deal with this issue with the utmost responsibility,” he said.
“The government should also bear its responsibility and we are all willing to help in the release of the abducted Lebanese,” he added.
He said Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Berri had already launched contacts and “we have also begun contacts on the side.”
Nasrallah also blasted media reports about possible revenge kidnappings of Syrians in Lebanon.
“It is forbidden to talk about the kidnapping of Syrians in Lebanon or other expats from other sisterly countries,” he said.