Syria conflict spills into Lebanon with kidnappings

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates issued warnings for all of their citizens to leave Lebanon out of concern regarding further kidnappings.


The al-Mikdad family said they kidnapped the Syrians in order to get the Syrian rebels to release Hassa al-Mikdad, whom the rebels say went to Syria to fight for the Assad regime, according to Reuters. “We don't care what is happening in Syria. We respect the will for democracy. We just want our son to come back to Lebanon safely," Maher al-Meqdad said.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the kidnappings in a statement.

“This is not an appropriate way to solve the kidnapping of a Lebanese citizen in Syria and brings us back to the days of the painful war, a page that Lebanese citizens have been trying to turn," he said, according to Reuters.

Mikati was referring to the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s and '80s, and the concern that the Shiite-Sunni sectarian violence could re-emerge amid the fighting in Syria.

The Syrian rebels are majority-Sunni, according to The Associated Press, while Assad’s regime is Alawite, a branch of Shia Islam.

Lebanon's potential involvement in the Syrian conflict could further escalate the regional nature of the fight between Assad's forces and the opposition in Syria, just as clashes that crossed the Turkish border earlier this summer threatened to involve Turkey.