Who are the al-Moqdad family and why did they kidnap up to 30 Syrians in Lebanon?

Another day full of action here in Lebanon. The following post is compiled from various news sources including LBC, Twitter, NOW Lebanon, Lebanese newspapers and my own research.

The Al-Moqdad family announced that their military wing kidnapped 20 members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) all across Lebanon. During the day several more, including a Turkish national, have been taken. NOW Lebanon is reporting there are as many as 30 abducted though there were reports of four being released because they were not members of the FSA.

The action was retaliation for the kidnapping of Hassan Salim el-Moqdad  by the FSA.

A video of those abducted was shown on al-Mayadeen TV

His brother Habib threatened to take action within 24 hours if he wasn’t released, vowing: “We will not wait for the government so that the fate of our son becomes the same as those 11 kidnapped men, therefore, we will not wait for the efforts exerted by Speaker Nabih Berri or Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.”

The mass kidnapping seems to be the threatened response.

The FSA said they had captured a Hezbollah member, but both his family and Hezbollah denied that Hassan was a member of the group. However, there is a relationship between the two entities.

This is what I found out through Twitter:

Karl Sharro @KarlreMarks

@THE_47th @fernandevtets their relationship with Hezbollah is complex, HA lets them operate in Da7ye but they don’t have control over them

Karl Sharro@KarlreMarks

@THE_47th @fernandevtets they have light to medium weapons, RPGs, etc, but it’s a large clan and some are very well trained.

All of which is worrying, because if Hezbollah can’t control them, who can?

Meanwhile, the el-Moqdad family is saying different things. The family held a press conference at which Abu Ali al-Moqdad spoke on behalf of the family and said that tomorrow morning it will be revealed who the kidnapped individuals, a “hefty catch” are. “The family’s military wing kidnapped several Syrians. We are not afraid of anyone,” he said, adding that the tribes of the eastern Bekaa valley such as Shamas, Zoaiter, Nasreddine and Dandash are all working together.

During this press conference, another 3 individuals were taken, including the son of a high financier of the Syrian opposition according to LBC.

Another al-Moqdad family member vowed to abduct Turks, Saudis and Qataris, and a Turkish national from the Soufan family was abducted on Beirut’s outskirts in the afternoon. However, Abu Ali said they would just take FSA members.

Meanwhile, Bassam al-Dada, the FSA political advisor, told al-Jadeed television that those taken are not members of the FSA and threatened to execute members of Hezbollah if they weren’t released.

The plot thickens as al-Mayadeen aired footage of those kidnapped in which an FSA member said to have accepted money from Future MP Khaled el-Daher in Tripoli. El Daher denies the allegations. Lebanon has officially taken a stance of non-interference in the Syrian conflict and the country is split over what to do about the conflict.

The story continues, with the Turkish, Qatari and Saudi embassies having beefed up security around their embassies.

Meanwhile Sheikh Al-Asssir, the Saida sheikh who shot to fame following his infamous sit-in blocking the road to the south for weeks last month, has said he considers this to be the beginning of a civil war. Comforting.


5 thoughts on “Who are the al-Moqdad family and why did they kidnap up to 30 Syrians in Lebanon?

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