Turkish businessman Aydin Tufan Tekin
Turkish businessman Aydin Tufan Tekin will be flying to Turkey today along with Lebanese Interior Minister, Marwan Charbel and Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildiz hours after the Meqdad clan
freed the hostage.Earlier on Tuesday, the Lebanese army freed four Syrians kidnapped by the Meqdad clan. In a statement, the army said it had freed four kidnapped Syrians after raiding a location in Hay al-Sellum following surveillance and follow-ups. The Army unit and Directorate of Intelligence arrested two people in the same area who were suspected to be involved in the abductions.
Charbel had said that Tekin’s release would pave the way for the release of all Lebanese hostages currently held by anti-regime rebels in Syria. Tekin was handed by the Meqdad clan to General Security forces in an area near Beirut yesterday evening. He was then escorted to the General Security headquarters where he was received by the Turkish ambassador.
Another Turkish national, Abdelbasset Orsolan, a bus driver, was abducted by a group that identified itself as the Mukhtar al-Thaqafi Phalange. The little-known group, believed to be affiliated with families of the Lebanese pilgrims held in Syria, said it had freed Orsolan, along with 10 Syrians they kidnapped in July.
"We will receive the other hostage Wednesday morning. We have shown good intentions and we will fly both of them to Turkey and we hope to come back with good results [on the Lebanese hostages in Syria]," Charbel said. The hostages will be accompanied by Charbel, General Security chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim, and Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildiz.
"We expect all the Lebanese in Syria to be freed soon — not only the 10 pilgrims but also Hassan Meqdad," the interior minister said. Following Hassan Meqdad’s abduction by anti-regime rebels in Syria, members of his clan kidnapped Tekin and several Syrians in a bid to pressure the captors.
Charbel said he did not want to provide further details on the fate of the Lebanese hostages in Syria, but promised to update the media accordingly:"As you all know this issue is sensitive. We will keep you posted step by step."
Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, received phone calls late Tuesday from his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who thanked him for Tekin’s release.
Tekin, who spoke to reporters upon his arrival in Beirut, called for the release of the Lebanese held in Syria saying: "I ask on the governments in the world and the Syrian opposition to free all Lebanese in Syria." He also thanked the Lebanese and Turkish governments for securing his release and said he was not subjected to any pressure or physical torture while he was held.
Meanwhile, Ozyildiz said Turkey would continue to help Lebanon secure the release of all hostages in Syria. "I would like to thank the Lebanese Army, the General Security and the government for working hard to release a Turkish hostage in Beirut — and Turkish authorities will continue to help Lebanon win the release of all Lebanese held in Syria," the Turkish ambassador said.
Lebanese security source told Arabstoday that releasing the Turkish and Syrian hostages was not part of a deal aimed at releasing the Lebanese hostages in Syria. The source added: "We held our duty as a government, but of course it will be good if this news will help in ending the Lebanese hostages case.”