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Lebanon asks "influential" countries to help release kidnapped pilgrims in Syria

BEIRUT, Aug. 21 — Lebanese President Michel Suleiman called Tuesday on leaders of friendly and influential countries to spare no effort to help release kidnapped Lebanese in Syria, its National News Agency reported.

In a statement issued by the presidential media office, Suleiman expressed his sorrow for the "pilgrims not being able to spend the Eid El Fitr holiday with their families."

Suleiman also condemned the kidnapping of Syrian nationals in Lebanon, blaming such incidents of "tarnishing Lebanon's image and reputation."

The Lebanese president called on authorities to work toward releasing Syrian hostages, adding that "The judicial authorities are required to take immediate action and issue arrest warrants for those involved in the kidnappings, and the security authorities are required to work on releasing the abductees."

On May 22, 11 Lebanese pilgrims were kidnapped in Syria's northern province of Aleppo on their way home from a pilgrimage to Iran, which triggered violent reactions among various tribes.

Last Wednesday, the military wing of al-Meqdad clan, a powerful family in Lebanon, announced that it had abducted over 20 supporters of Syria's rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a Turk, in retaliation to the earlier abduction of Hassan Salim al-Meqdad by Syria's rebel Free Syrian Army over his alleged link to Hezbollah. (PNA/Xinhua)

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