Arab Countries Issue Warning to Leave Lebanon
Over 20 Syrians abducted inside Lebanese territory
The governments of Saudi Arabi, Qatar and the UAE have issued warnings telling their citizens to leave Lebanon following the mass abduction of over 20 Syrians inside Lebanese territory.
While the kidnapping has been cited by the governments in their warnings, a larger incident is feared to be unfolding in the region.
In a video shown on Lebanese television, the Shiite kidnappers called the abduction an act of revenge for the kidnapping of their relative by Syrian rebels.
The Lebanese man in captivity is believed by the rebels to be a member of Hezbollah, an internationally recognized Shiite Lebanese terrorist organization with ties to Iran.
The nature of Iran’s possible connection to the mass abduction is yet to be determined.
But Lebanese kidnappers have threatened to cause havoc in the streets and go on an extended kidnapping spree in Lebanon until their family member is released.
They claim their hostages included a Turkish businessman, a Saudi and several Syrians they described as rebel fighters.
“The next few hours and next few days will determine what will happen,” said one of the captors while wearing a mask outside the family’s compound in a Shiite suburb of Beirut.
The statement by the Saudi Embassy in Beirut was published on the official Saudi news agency Wednesday, urging its citizens to leave immediately.
Citizens of countries that have supported the rebels’ uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are feared to be in danger.
One of the kidnappers threatened that “the snowball would grow,” and warned “Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and their citizens.”
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are all Sunni-led countries that have strongly supported the Muslim rebels fighting Assad, most of whom are also Sunnis.