Differing Strategies in Response to Syrian Rebels’ Hostage-Taking

Hezbollah Conspicuously Silent on Lebanese Kidnappings

Though the primary focus of the Syrian Civil War is on battles between regime and rebels, but the Syrian rebels have also taken to claiming hostages, particularly among Shi’ite pilgrims from nations on good terms with President Bashar Assad.

Lebanon lost 11 Shi’ite pilgrims, which the rebels immediately branded Hezbollah militants, while Iran has lost 48 pilgrims of its own. The reactions in different nations are varied, as they try to avoid summary executions by the rebels and hope the secure the release of their citizens.

Iran has been extremely active in trying to secure the release of their citizens, pressing Turkey and Qatar, two of the nations loudly backing the rebels, to try to get the civilians freed. Turkey has promised to help, but expressed anger at the situation.

Hezbollah, whose political party rules Lebanon and which is its largest Shi’ite bloc, has been conspicuously silent on their own kidnappings, with Hassan Nasrallah making non-specific pleas for calm but not making public any efforts to secure the release of the captives.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.