Families of captive soldiers block Beirut roads

Families of captive soldiers block Beirut roads
2 min read
02 July, 2015
After months of anguish, the relatives of Lebanese soldiers being held hostage by extremist groups have blocked key roads in the capital urging the government to act.
Sveral protests have been held by the families in Beirut [Anadolu]

Main roads in Beirut have been blocked by families of Lebanese soldiers being held hostage by extremist groups in Lebanon.

Protesters burnt tires to hold up traffic along key roads in an attempt force the government to release information about the fate of their loved ones and clarify the progress of negotiations.

Twenty five soldiers have been held captive by the Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front since August when the Syria and Iraq-based rebels briefly overran the Lebanese city of Arsal, close to the Syrian border.

"It's an appeal, we want to know the results of negotiations with the kidnappers," one of the relatives told Lebanese-based newspaper, The Daily Star.

Relatives say the government of not cooperating with them, and refusing to negotiate seriously with the kidnappers

The families have also called for Beirut to appoint more respectable negotiators such as socialist statesman Walid Jumblatt.

The protests coincide with a meeting of Lebanon's cabinet after a month-long hiatus.

"We want the case to be on the cabinet's agenda," another protester told the Lebanese daily.

During the eleven-month ordeal, families have held other protests to urge to government to act and save their loved ones.

Eight hostages have been released by Nusra, while the al-Qaeda affiliate has also shot dead two of the soldiers. IS has also beheaded two captives.

Both groups are demanding the release of their affiliates being held in Lebanese jails.

Hours after the Damour-Beirut road was closed by the protesters, Lebanon's National News Agency announced that it was reopened to traffic.

The father of captive soldier Hussein Youssef told the state news agency that the remaining roads would be cleared by 2pm. Gridlocks in the capital have been reported by Lebanese media.