- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2013

Lebanese authorities say that gunmen have kidnapped a pilot and a co-pilot who work for Turkish Airlines in Beirut as they were traveling in a van to their hotel early Friday.

The pilot and co-pilot were leaving Beirut International Airport with several other crew members and heading back to their hotel, when six armed men pulled over the van and took the pair hostage, police say, The Associated Press reported.

The gunmen snatched them but let the others in the van continue on, unharmed, AP reported.

The pilot and co-pilot are Turkish nationals, police say. So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. But AP reported that the incident is most likely tied to the Syrian conflict. Turkey generally supports the Sunni rebel fighters, while Lebanon primarily sides with the Shiite-dominated government regime.

The abduction of the pilot and co-pilot comes at the same time as rebel fighters in Syria have taken captive and held nine Lebanese Shiites, AP reported.

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