BEIRUT: Interior Minister Marwan Charbel reiterated Thursday his request for Turkey to help in the release of the remaining nine Lebanese hostages being held in Syria.
“We hope the Turks will help Lebanon [free the hostages] just as Lebanon helped it [Ankara] secure the release of the kidnapped” Turkish citizens on Lebanese soil, Charbel said in remarks to a local radio station.
Charbel renewed his hopes that the men would be released despite difficulties.
“There are opportunities that can be expanded to win their freedom,” he said. Charbel did not elaborate.
The nine remaining Lebanese hostages were among 11 men kidnapped in the Syrian district of Aleppo by Syrian rebels in May of 2012.
Two of the hostages were freed successively in August and September following a call by the Committee of Muslim Scholars to release the pilgrims.
The 11 were snatched while on their way back to Lebanon by land from a pilgrimage in Iran.
The kidnappers have demanded Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah apologize to the Syrian people for supporting the Syrian regime.
Families of the hostages protested Wednesday outside the Turkish Airlines offices in Downtown Beirut and sealed it with wax to prevent employees from reaching their workplace.
Last week the hostages’ relatives demonstrated outside the Turkish Embassy in Rabieh, north of Beirut, and threatened to target Turkish interests in Lebanon in an effort to pressure Ankara to help secure the release of their loved ones.