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McCain: ‘Regrettable’ if photo was taken with Syrian rebel kidnappers

A spokesman for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that it would be “regrettable” if the lawmaker had posed for a photograph with Syrian rebels involved in kidnapping Lebanese Shiite pilgrims.

The spokesman cautioned, however, that no one had identified themselves by the alleged kidnappers’ names during McCain’s meetings with opposition forces in Syria over the weekend.

{mosads}The Lebanon Daily Star reported
Thursday that McCain took a photo with Mohammad Nour and Abu Ibrahim, who were identified
by a freed captive as Syrian rebels who took part in the kidnapping of 11
Lebanese Shiite pilgrims a year ago.

McCain, who tweeted a picture
from his visit that allegedly included the kidnappers, was the highest-ranking
U.S. official to visit Syria since the two-year civil war began.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said in a statement that none
of the individuals McCain planned to meet were named Mohammad Nour or Abu
Ibrahim. While a number of other Syrian commanders joined the meeting, none
identified themselves by those names either.

Rogers said it would be “ludicrous” to suggest McCain
condoned the kidnapping or had communications with those responsible.

“Senator McCain condemns such heinous actions in the
strongest possible terms,” Rogers said.

“A number of the Syrians who greeted Senator McCain upon his
arrival in Syria asked to take pictures with him, and as always, the Senator
complied. If the individual photographed with Senator McCain is in fact Mohamed
Nour, that is regrettable.”

Carlo Muñoz contributed.

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