Lerpong Syed, one of negotiators working for the release of Thais being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, confirmed today that they are safe and healthy.
Speaking to Suthichai Yoon on “Suthichai Facebook Live from Tehran”, Lerpong said he had in his hand a list of Thais being held captive and has forwarded it to the Thai authorities concerned.
He expressed concern, however, over their continued safety, as Israel has launched fierce attacks on the Gaza Strip, which could impact the safe houses where the Thais are being kept.
The actual number of Thais being held has not yet been confirmed by authorities, Lerpong said, adding that he does not know where they are being held either.
He said he is working for the release of Thai hostages in the name of the people, not the government. “If I work as representative of the government, I will have protocols to follow,” said Lerpong, president of the Thai-Iran Alumni Association.
He said Hamas has indicated that Thais could be released unconditionally, but for Israelis and Americans, conditions and negotiations may be involved.
To release the Thais, safety has to be ensured amid Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza. “In my view, the Thais may be safer at the moment if they stay with hostage takers, considering the daily attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip,” said Lerpong.
To guarantee their safety, there should be a pause in the attacks by the Israeli side, to give time for international organisations to step in and receive them,” he said.