Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain on Wednesday (August 15th) and Thursday urged their citizens to leave Lebanon, referencing security concerns including kidnappings and unrest, AFP reported.
On Wednesday, members of the al-Meqdad clan claimed it kidnapped 33 Syrians and a Turkish man in Lebanon, after family member Hassan al-Meqdad was abducted earlier this week by Syrian opposition forces. The Syrian opposition alleges he is a Hizbullah sniper.
Dozens of Syrian nationals were seized and their shops vandalised by rioters in areas of Beirut on Wednesday, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.
Also on Wednesday, protesters blocked the road to Beirut's airport, forcing an Air France flight to be diverted.
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said he held talks with security leaders and cabinet ministers on Thursday to discuss "the issue of kidnappings and counter-kidnappings".
"We hope to resolve this diplomatically," he told reporters. "God willing, the Lebanese in Syria will be released and so will the kidnapped Syrians in Lebanon."
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned the retaliatory kidnappings.
"In the same way we rejected and renounced the kidnapping of our Lebanese brothers in Syria a few months ago, we also reject abducting any person in Lebanon, whether Syrian or others," Hariri said in a statement issued Thursday.
"A mistake cannot be solved with another mistake," he said.