10:15 20.08.2013

Belarus woman seized by Syria rebels used to work at Lebanese nightclub - ministry

One of two women who were taken hostage by rebels in Syria recently is Belarusian and worked as a dancer at a nightclub in Lebanon repeatedly before she ended up in her Syrian captivity, according to the Belarusian Interior Ministry.

"One of the hostages captured by Syrian rebels is a national of Belarus. It has been established that, having no work visa, she has independently and repeatedly traveled to Lebanon, where she worked at one of the night entertainment clubs, and afterward returned to Belarus," the ministry told Interfax on Monday.

It said it "is taking measures for her earliest possible return to her country."

On a video posted on the Internet last week, the two women said they had been taken prisoner by Syrian rebels. One of the women said she was Belarusian and the other said she was Moldovan.

With black-masked men pointing rifles at them, the women were reading out a statement saying they had posed as journalists when they arrived in Syria but that actually they had been agents for Hizballah, a Lebanese militant group supporting the Syrian government.

Later it transpired that Svetlana Markiyanovich - as one of the women was identified on the video - is resident in Zhodino, Minsk region, aged 30 and unmarried. Her relatives confirmed that she was one of the women on the video and said she had gone abroad late in June to work and planned to come back home in September.

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