BEIRUT - Lebanon's army said on Saturday its forces raided a southern district of Beirut and arrested a member of a powerful Shi'ite Muslim clan which claims responsibility for the kidnapping of 20 Syrians and a Turkish businessman.

"Army forces carried out a raid to execute arrest warrants against individuals that were linked to kidnappings ... The army arrested a number of wanted, including Hassan Meqdad," an army statement said, without mentioning the kidnapped.

The Meqdad clan abducted the men on Aug. 15 in what they said was a response to the capture of one of their kinsmen in Damascus by the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of a revolt which aims to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The kidnappings have reinforced fears that the Syria conflict could trigger more instability in a much smaller neighbor where Damascus has had a major influence for decades.

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