HERMEL, Lebanon: The Jaafar clan Wednesday received the bodies of their relatives who were kidnapped and killed in Syria by rebel groups nearly two months ago. Ahmad Youssef Jaafar, 36, a father of two, and his cousin Mahdi Mohammad Jaafar, 24, a college student, were abducted on May 22 during a trip to buy cheap groceries in the Syrian border village of Aqrabiyah, an area controlled at the time by the rebel Free Syrian Army.
The Bekaa-based clan began negotiating with the opposition group in a bid to release the men who were from the village of Sahlet al-Maa.
A member of the FSA informed the family that the two were killed shortly after the abduction and were buried along with a Syrian soldier near the Syrian town of Qusair, where the rebels and Syria’s army had fought fierce battles.
The family lost contact with the FSA after the army, with the help of Hezbollah fighters, regained control of Qusair. Members of the clan then traveled to the area where the men were allegedly buried and dug up the bodies before returning them to Lebanon. DNA tests proved the men were related to the Jaafars. The two bodies are currently in a hospital awaiting burial.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 11, 2013, on page 3.