[QODLink]
Middle East
Hezbollah demands hostages in Syria be freed
Hassan Nasrallah calls for the release of Lebanese Shia pilgrims held in Syria, saying they are innocent civilians.
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2012 19:55
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered the speech via video link from an undisclosed location [EPA]

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has called for the release of Lebanese Shia pilgrims held in Syria in a televised speech.

"The pilgrims should be returned to their families," Nasrallah said on Friday, during a ceremony commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

"If your problem is with Hezbollah ... or a political party in Lebanon and its position on the events in Syria leave innocent people aside and solve your problem with us," he said, addressing the kidnappers.

"If you have a problem with me there are many ways [in which] we can solve it and on many levels, if you want war we can solve it with war, if you want peace then we can solve it in peace," he said.

The Shia movement Hezbollah allegedly receives much of its weapons through Syria.

The group has steadfastly expressed its support for President Bashar al-Assad’s government since the outbreak of the uprising on March 15, 2011.

A previously unknown armed group calling itself the "Syrian Revolutionaries - Aleppo Province" announced on Thursday that it is holding the dozen or so pilgrims who went missing in Syria on May 22.

"The kidnapped Lebanese are being looked after by us and are in good health," the group said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

"Negotiations for their release are possible as soon as Nasrallah apologises."

Nasrallah had said last week "if this kidnapping is aimed at putting pressure on our political position, it's a waste of time".

256

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.