World Bulletin / News Desk
Lebanese security forces freed four Syrian hostages on Tuesday in a raid on a powerful Shi'ite Muslim clan, which kidnapped more than 20 people last month.
The four told a Lebanese television station they had been tortured when they were held by the armed wing of the Meqdad clan and were forced to confess they were rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
They were among more than 20 Syrian men, as well as a Turkish businessman, abducted in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in mid-August.
The clan said its abductions were in response to the capture of one of its kinsmen by Syrian rebels trying to topple Assad.
The clan later released all but the four Syrians and the Turk, who the Meqdad family spokesman Maher Meqdad said was shot and wounded in the raid and is now the only hostage left.
The army said it had freed the four in a midnight raid in a southern suburb of the capital.
"The army leadership is intent on continuing its raids and imposing the rule of law," the army statement said. "It will not back away from these measures until it has caught all those involved and freed all the hostages."
The kidnapping of foreigners has become a growing concern in Lebanon, which is concerned about a possible spillover of sectarian violence from the revolt in neighbouring Syria.
The tensions have provoked sporadic clashes in northern Lebanon between pro- and anti-Assad factions that have already killed dozens.
The four Syrians told the MTV Lebanon news channel they had been tortured and forced to confess on the regional news channel Al Mayadeen, which is based in Lebanon.
"I was forced by threats to say I was in the FSA, that I was a captain ... I have nothing to do with this, I'm just a shop worker here to support my wife and kids," one said, referring to the Free Syrian Army.
Another freed hostage, who gave his name as Mohammed, said he was beaten, electrocuted, and placed in a coffin in episodes of torture that lasted 15 days.
"I was put on Al Mayadeen and they made me say things I shouldn't have," he told MTV Lebanon.
"They wanted me to say I am revolting against Assad's apostate army and the Alawites and Shi'ites. They made me say it and then they believed it. But I reject all of this."
Sami Kleib, head of news for Al Mayadeen, said his correspondent was not complicit in the forced confession but was taken to the scene blindfolded, told he could film for just three minutes and could not ask his own questions.
Turkey's new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has formed a new government on his first day on the job.
Turkish dailies' front pages cover Erdogan's presidential ceremony and Turkish football clubs in European challenges.
Turkey's strong economic performance over the last decade has enabled Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extend his rule with the presidency.
"Today, Turkey has been born from the ashes, the building and fixing process for a new Turkey has gained strength," newly elected Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote.
Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the presidential oath on Thursday after stepping down as Prime Minister on Wednesday.
Today's newspapers cover Turkey's ruling AK party's congress to elect a new party chairman, and Erdogan's handing over the AK Party leadership to Davutoglu.
The U.S. administration designated Charge D'affaires to Ankara to participate the inauguration ceremony of president-elect Erdogan.
Erdogan said he would ask incoming prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a new government on Thursday and a new cabinet of ministers would be announced the following day.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday, bringing 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks to a halt in the blockaded coastal enclave.
Today’s newspapers cover Turkey’s ruling AK party’s congress to elect a new party chairman, and thousands of Turks forming what is hoped to be the world’s largest portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey.
It is not yet clear who he will be meeting during his stay, but there are believed to be no plans for him to meet Turkish Foreign Minister-turned-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The nation recorded 162,445 medical tourists by the end of the first half of 2014.
At least 100 people are arriving from Iraq each day, many of them smuggled across the border by locals, sometimes paying up to $1,000 per family.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it is coordinating with Turkish authorities to find the workers, kidnapped by militants on Monday.
Many Yazidis fleeing from the war in Iraq are also waiting for shelter on the border with Turkey, according to some reports.
The advance of ISIL has alarmed Ankara and its Western allies, forcing them to step up intelligence sharing and tighten security cooperation.