U.S. calls for immediate release of Lebanese hostages in Syria

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The U.S. Embassy in Beirut called Thursday for the immediate release of a group of Lebanese men kidnapped by Syrian rebels in Aleppo.

“We condemn the kidnapping of Lebanese citizens in Aleppo and call for their immediate release,” the U.S. Embassy said on its Twitter feed.

Lebanese government and security officials confirmed the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiites in northern Syria Tuesday by rebels.

The pilgrims were on their way home from Iran on two buses when rebels approached them in Aleppo and abducted the men. The women were let go.

A Lebanese security source told The Daily Star Tuesday that it appeared the rebels abducted the men to exchange them for Syrians imprisoned in Lebanon.

“The kidnapping of people – particularly targeting along sectarian lines – is unacceptable,” the U.S. Embassy said.

“We renew our commitment to a stable, sovereign, and independent Lebanon,” it added.

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