News / Middle East

Lebanese Shi'ites Kidnapped in Syria; Hezbollah Appeals for Calm

x
VOA News
The leader of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah militant group has appealed for calm after protests erupted in Beirut following the kidnapping of at least 11 Lebanese Shi'ites near the Syrian city of Aleppo as they returned home from a pilgrimage.

Tuesday's abductions are the latest spillover of the neighboring Syrian conflict to sow unrest in Lebanon.

Lebanese security officials and eyewitnesses confirmed the kidnapping, but it was not immediately clear who had seized the group or exactly how many people were abducted.

The Hezbollah leadership and family members described the men as religious pilgrims transiting Syria by bus on their way back from visiting holy Shi'ite shrines in Iraq.

Lebanese media reports said members of the rebel Free Syrian Army kidnapped 13 men, while the Syrian news agency reported that 11 Lebanese and a Syrian driver were seized by "an armed terrorist group." The women were released.

Members of the Free Syrian Army denied the group was responsible.

As news of the kidnapping spread, residents of Beirut's southern suburbs - a Shi'ite area - briefly took to the streets, burning tires and blocking roads in protest. The Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, later urged restraint in an address broadcast by Lebanese television stations, saying contacts with Syrian authorities were under way for a quick resolution.

Meanwhile, activists said Syrian security forces attacked the town of Azaz - in Aleppo province, where the abductions took place - within hours of the kidnapping.

Earlier, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a bomb attack at a Damascus restaurant killed five people Tuesday. The group said the blast targeted the Qaboun neighborhood, which has been the center of several protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

Also Tuesday, Lebanese authorities released on $330 bail an outspoken anti-Assad Sunni Muslim cleric whose arrest earlier this month sparked deadly unrest in a region of northern Lebanon that backs the revolt against the Syrian leader.

Shadi al-Moulawi's detention ushered in several days of clashes between Sunni Islamist foes of Mr. Assad and the Lebanese army and pro-Assad Alawites, killing eight people.

Those battles moved to the capital after the Lebanese army killed two people, one of them a prominent anti-Assad cleric, in northern Lebanon on Sunday.

A raucous funeral for Sheikh Ahmed Abdul-Wahid was held on Monday. The Lebanese military says it is investigating his shooting..

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid