AMMAN - Syria's political opposition in exile, the Syrian National Council, called on rebels in Syria on Wednesday to help secure the release of 13 Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims abducted near the north Syrian city of Aleppo.
The 13 were among dozens of Shi'ite pilgrims on a bus that was stopped by armed rebels as it crossed the border from Turkey to Syria on Tuesday on the way back from Iran, families of the abducted men said.
The abduction took place two days after fighting in the Lebanese capital between supporters of the 14-month-old Syrian revolt and people loyal to President Bashar Assad, a spillover of Syria's unrest into its smaller neighbor.
"The Syrian National Council condemns any kidnappings, assault or terrorizing of our Lebanese brothers and demands their immediate release," an SNC statement said.
"The council calls on the officers of the Free Syrian Army... who rebelled against the repression and criminality of the regime, to do everything they can to free the Lebanese brothers," the statement said.