BEIRUT, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Families of nine Lebanese pilgrims held by Syrian rebels staged a sit-in outside the headquarters of Turkish Airlines in downtown Beirut on Wednesday, pressing for the release of their beloved ones.
In the early morning rally, the demonstrators also sealed the doors of the company with red wax and prevented the staff from entering their offices.
Despite a heavy deployment of security forces, Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said the roads in the area remained open.
Eleven Lebanese people were kidnapped in Syria's Aleppo on May 22 as they were making their way back by land from a pilgrimage in Iran. One was released in late August and another in September, while the rest remain in the town of Aazaz in Aleppo.
The families have accused Turkey of being complicit in the kidnapping and blamed Ankara for providing cover for the captors.
"I don't blame the families on condition that they don't obstruct the efforts we are exerting in the case," Charbel told local radio. "We hope that Turkey would understand the position of the families and would continue to help us in setting the nine men free."
The Lebanese minister reassured that Turkish interests in Lebanon would not be under any kind of threats, adding that Lebanese government had discussed the issue with the UN-Arab League joint special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi during his latest visit to Lebanon.