Lebanese families are demanding the release of their sons from prisons in Syria.
By Wendy Griffith
CBN News Sr. Reporter
Some men have been missing for more than 15 years and the Lebanese want answers.
But for some families, it may be too late.
Syria is often the main suspect in most of the atrocities in Lebanon. From car bombings of Lebanese leaders,
to kidnappings, the Syrians are seen as supporting Islamic radicals in Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq.Last year,
after 29 years, Syria- under international pressure- set Lebanon free. But during those years of occupation,
the Syrian Regime arrested hundreds of Lebanese nationals.
Today, Human Rights groups say more than 600 Lebanese people are still detained in Syria,
most of them from the Lebanese National Army, who fought against their Syrian invaders.
For many Lebanese families, the waiting has been torturous. Determined to find answers since April
of last year,
scores of relatives have set up camp in front of the U.N. building in Beirut -
to denounce the detention of their sons in Syria.
Sometimes frustration turns to anger -- some families scuffled with police,
saying that the Lebanese government is not doing enough to release their loved ones from Syrian prisons.
One protestor said: We are telling all the nations, from A to Z, we want our family from Syria.
Enough is enough!"
CBN News spoke with parents and family members who believe their sons may still be alive,
but getting answers from the Syrian government has not been easy.
Mrs. Nassif is one of the lucky ones - she was able to visit her son in one of the
Syrian jails. He was a tired prisoner,
she said. How do you expect him to be? Exhausted, depressed? Enough pain,
enough humiliation! I call upon the international community.
Enough humiliation to the mothers. My son spent the best 15 years of his life in prison?
Mothers are a key player in this movement. One passionate mother is sending a message to the Syrian regime,
Release our sons! said Mrs.
Sirhall. Believe it is enough -- 15 years are enough away from their parents and families.
But her hope quickly turned to despair, as she discovered her son was killed by the
Syrians after being taken as a prisoner of war back in the late 1990s.
Instead of getting him back alive, the family received him in a body bag on
March 18, 2006.
He was found in one of the Syrian mass graves in Lebanon.
Mrs. Nassif said, "I tell the regime in Syria, it is time to have mercy, enough injustice. Fear God."
Another mom talked about the Syrian treatment of her son during a reunion in a Syrian prison with his father.
"They had a black piece of cloth covering his face,? she said. ?They removed it.
He stares at his dad and was about to speak,
when he was hit by his guard and was told to look and not to speak. The father cried and the son cried.
They have had a silent reunion for an hour."
In the past, Syria has defended the detentions, saying, "Those detained all fought on the
Israeli side and killed Syrian soldiers.
we punished them, just like terrorists," said former Syrian Prime Minister Najj Otari.
CBN News made repeated attempts to get a response from the Syrian Embassy in Washington,
but to no avail.
Meanwhile, the human rights organization Solide called this a crime against humanity.
They say it can only be stopped through international intervention.
Ghazi Aad of Solide said, "We don't have the legal power to investigate or
interrogate Syrian personnel and officers -- people who perpetrated this crime against our Lebanese brothers.
That's why we are in need of an international commission of inquiry."
Meanwhile, mothers are still waiting and longing to see their sons.
We, as parents, worked so hard to raise him up until he was 20, not for them(the Syrians) to abduct him,?
Habber said. Every day, I think he is about to come. This evening, maybe tomorrow. My heart is broken.