Nine Lebanese citizens held in Syria since May 2012 have been released, Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Reuters on Friday.
Eleven Lebanese Shiites were seized last year by a Syrian rebel group while on their way home from a pilgrimage to Shiite religious sites in Iran, their families said. Two were later released.
“The story is over,” Charbel said. “In the next 24 hours, they will be with us (in Lebanon).”
Soon after the release of the Lebanese hostages, efforts to free two Turkish Airlines pilots who were kidnapped in Lebanon in August are close to yielding results, Agence France-Presse reported Turkey’s foreign minister as saying Friday.
“Very favorable developments are under way concerning the two Turkish pilots, this matter has been largely settled,” Ahmet Davutoglu said on local television, adding that the men could be released “within hours or days.”
The two Turkish pilots were abducted in Beirut on August 9 by the families of the nine Lebanese, who accused Turkey of doing too little to win their release.
(With Reuters and AFP)