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Turkish hostage released in Lebanon

From Arwa Damon, CNN
updated 10:30 AM EDT, Wed September 12, 2012
Turkish national Aydin Tufan Tekin speaks during an interview in Beirut's southern suburbs on August 31, 2012.
Turkish national Aydin Tufan Tekin speaks during an interview in Beirut's southern suburbs on August 31, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The freed Turkish hostage appears on local Lebanese television
  • His kidnapping shows the Syrian conflict seeping into Lebanon
  • He was held hostage in response to an alleged rebel kidnapping
  • "We wanted to put pressure by kidnapping people," a clan spokesman says

Editor's note: Read a version of this story in Arabic

(CNN) -- A Turkish hostage was released in Lebanon Tuesday following negotiations between officials and the powerful clan that had been holding him.

Aydin Tufan Tekin appeared on local Lebanese TV shortly after he was released to the country's Interior Ministry. He looked healthy and said he was heading to his hometown.

The businessman's kidnapping was a high-profile example of how the Syrian conflict has been seeping into Lebanon, sparking concern across the nation and in other countries.

Syrian crisis spills over into Lebanon

A spokesman for Lebanon's powerful Mikdad clan said the Turk and 45 Syrians were abducted in response to the Free Syrian Army's abduction of Hassan al-Mikdad in mid-August.

A video appeared online showing al-Mikdad sitting in front of three masked men who claimed to be part of the rebel army. He has not been heard from since.

"We wanted to put pressure by kidnapping people," family spokesman Maher al-Mikdad said Tuesday. "It's the only way when you live in a jungle."

The clan released 41 of the Syrian hostages, he said. Four others were freed by Lebanese forces in raids Tuesday.

Lebanon's government-run news agency confirmed Tekin's release.

More on Lebanon: Country profile

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