Arab nations urge nationals to leave Lebanon

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Arab nations urge nationals to leave Lebanon

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Several Arab countries are telling their citizens to leave Lebanon immediately following a spate of kidnappings of Sunni Muslims, as the tension from the Syrian conflict spills over the border.

There have been several warnings in recent weeks. But now there have been threats of further abductions.

Twenty Syrians are being held by a Shi’ite Muslim clan in retaliation for the abduction of a Lebanese man by rebels in Damascus.

Describing the opposition Free Syria Army as “barbaric”, a spokesman for the abductors, Maher al Meqdad said they would free the Syrians in return for the release of their son.

The al Meqdad family are said to have a tradition of smuggling.

The relative, Hassan al Meqdad, is a member of Hezbollah, according to the rebels holding him – something the Lebanese militant group denies.

Amid reports that others including a Turkish man have been abducted in Lebanon – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have all urged their own nationals to leave the country immediately.