Syrian group claims kidnap of Shia pilgrims

Armed "revolutionaries" from Aleppo say Lebanese hostages in good health and will be released after Nasrallah's apology.

    Syrian group claims kidnap of Shia pilgrims
    Fighting between supporters and opponents of President Assad has recently flared in Lebanon [Al Jazeera]

    A previously unknown armed group calling itself the "Syrian Revolutionaries - Aleppo Province" claims to have kidnapped a group of Lebanese Shia pilgrims in exchange for an apology from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

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

    "Negotiations for their release are possible as soon as Nasrallah apologises ... Our problem is not with any particular community but with those who assist in the suppression of the uprising."

    Hezbollah, the leading force in the current ruling coalition in Beirut, has close relations with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran.

    Since the dozen or so returning pilgrims went missing on May 22 on their way back from Iran, Nasrallah has called for restraint and urged his followers to refrain from sectarian revenge attacks against Syrian Sunnis.

    On Sunday, the outgoing head of the opposition Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, said the pilgrims were still being held in Syria. Earlier reports said they had resurfaced in Turkey.

    "We spoke with some parties who had contacts with the group and we offered our assistance to have them freed," Ghalioun said.

    The rebel Free Syrian Army, a loose coalition of armed groups that communicate with the SNC, has denied any involvement in the kidnapping.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    We explore how Salah Ed-Din unified the Muslim states and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem from the crusaders.