Khoury denies reports of abductions of Syrians in Lebanon


Nasri Khoury, Secretary General of the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council, on Wednesday denied reports over the abductions of Syrian opposition figures in Lebanon.

“I do not think that security forces are kidnapping Syrians in Lebanon ,” Khoury told New TV.

Khoury, who is a Member of Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) is a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime (even though his position requires him to be neutral ). He praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, calling him “a leader who cares about preserving” his country.

Commenting on Tuesday’s estimates of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that more than 3,500 people have been killed in Assad’s regime’s crackdown on dissent, Khoury said that “the death toll is exaggerated.” He did not say what the exact figure should be

He added that “there are arms’ smuggling operations from Lebanon into Syria.” However, he said that he will not accuse any political party of being involved in the alleged act.

Several Syrian opposition figures were reportedly abducted in Lebanon including Baath party co-founder and former Syrian VP Shebli al-Aysami who went missing in Aley last May . Aysami’s son confirmed yesterday that his father is in Syria

Al-Jumhuriya newspaper reported on October 11 that Internal Security Forces Director General Achraf Rifi told the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee that “Lebanese security forces assigned to protect the Syrian embassy in Lebanon kidnapped four [dissident] Syrians using embassy vehicles.”

According to local reports the kidnappers were led by Lt. Salah Ali al-Hajj, the head of the Syrian Embassy guard unit. Hajj is the son of Maj. Gen. Ali Hajj, Lebanon’s former ISF chief who was held along with three other Lebanese generals for four years for alleged involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Thousands of Syrians have fled to Lebanon in recent months, often using illegal border crossings, to escape the violence gripping their country.