Families Call on Lebanese Government to rescue Abducted Soldiers

Families Call on Lebanese Government to rescue Abducted Soldiers
Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:39:58

Families of at least 20 Lebanese soldiers and police officers still held hostage by the so-called Islamic State (IS) and the al-Nusra Front terrorists, held a Friday sit-in in Beirut's Martyr Square as they urged the government to take action, AP reports.

The sit-in protestors blocked a downtown road in three directions, as voices of dissatisfaction rang out at the government's inaction.

Relatives of soldiers and police captured by terrorists Outside Lebanon's government headquarters have held a weeks-long sit-in with a message: "We are waiting for your return".

For the past three months, 27 families from across Lebanon have been brought together in anguish by threats by the extremists to execute a son or a husband.

"We think, in a way, the government has not fulfilled its duty. So, we are blocking the road, to pressure the government, hoping it will help," said Hussein Yousef, chairman of a family committee set up for the abducted soldiers.

Ayesha Ahmad, whose only son was abducted by the extremist group, was among the protestors. Like other families, she has also camped out nearby government buildings, holding protests over a four-month period. For ordinary citizens, their only hope is for the government to act.

"The government has the responsibility to bring them back since they're sons of the state. We should stay home with our children," said a mother of one of the hostage soldiers.

Following five days of clashes that erupted on August 2 between the Lebanese army and Syrian terrorists gunmen -- who infiltrated the border town of Arsal after the army arrested Imad Jomaa, a leader of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front -- the gunmen took around 35 soldiers and police officers hostage while withdrawing to Syria.

They have been demanding the release of inmates held in Roumieh prison, Lebanon's largest jail, in exchange for the return of the soldiers and police.

However, the Lebanon's government refused their proposal, media reports say. And the extreme groups have beheaded three of the soldiers so far.

string(1048) "[{"id":"1643373","sort":"3286298","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/25/alalam_635498415821209641_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Clashes Continue in North of Lebanon,12 Wounded"} ,{"id":"1643730","sort":"3286299","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/26/alalam_635499360552700312_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Street Battles in Lebanon’s Tripoli for 3rd Day + Video"} ,{"id":"1643972","sort":"3286300","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/27/alalam_635500110221792924_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Thousands Flee During Truce in Restive North Lebanon"} ,{"id":"1644734","sort":"3286301","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/10/30/alalam_635502663288623773_25f_4x3.mp4","title":"Lebanese troops, militants clash near Syria"} ,{"id":"1648891","sort":"3286302","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/11/14/alalam_635515802414001991_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS, Nusra Unite against US-Backed Forces"} ,{"id":"1651859","sort":"3286303","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/11/24/alalam_635524160347985142_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iran Providing Pinpoint Missiles Technology to Hezbollah"} ]"