Syrian rebels kidnap Lebanese Shiites

Families claim at least 13 of their relatives have been kidnapped by rebels in Syria

Syrian flag. Picture: AFP

BEIRUT - Syrian rebels kidnapped at least 13 Lebanese Shi'ite men on Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as they were returning home from a pilgrimage in Iran, families of the men said.

Families took to the streets of the southern Beirut suburb where most of the kidnapped men live, blocking several roads.

The families said a bus loaded with Shi'ite pilgrims was stopped by the Free Syrian Army as it crossed the Turkish border to Syria on the way back from Iran.

"The Free Syrian Army said they took them. They let women go and kept the men. They told them that they will keep them until the Syrian army releases FSA detainees," one relative said.

Angry relatives burned tyres and blocked several streets in southern Beirut, a stronghold of the Shi'ite group Hezbollah and home to many of the kidnapped men. Several residents said black smoke was billowing from several locations.