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.
Cooperation with Turkey continues, including Southern Gas Corridor, says European commissioner for climate action and energy
Measures taken in army, military schools to counter FETO announced in Official Gazette under legislative decree
NCOs sent for trial over assault on hotel where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been staying
Branches of armed forces will answer to Defense Ministry for first time, military schools to close
Massive gathering planned next week to contribute to normalization in wake of July 15 coup attempt, Turkish president says
The first Ottoman mosque, built by Sultan Orhan Gazi has been discovered in Iznik in Bursa
Turkish military says the PKK terrorists were killed in air and ground operations
Turkey has not compromised over its laws even after the July 15 coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
PKK has hit eight Turkish soldiers killing them in an ambush in Hakkari, in the southeast of the country
Turkish president lashes out at US Central Command chief who says post-coup purge might affect relations
Social Security Institution to pay monthly salaries on top of one-time compensation to victims of July 15 failed coup
Seyit Ali Gumustas spent evening treating wounded on Bogazici (Bosphorus) Bridge
Binali Yildirim says Akinci Air Base in Ankara, center for July 15 coup-plotters, will be closed
In an interview, Ilknur Inceoz tells how members of Turkish parliament responded to failed coup
Turkey wants to export 15.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas, Russian Energy Minister Novak says