BEIRUT: The captors of two Turkish pilots said in a statement Friday they want a quick exchange of their hostages and Lebanese being held in Syria.
The local daily An-Nahar said it received a statement from the captors complaining about having to hold the pilots for "a longer period of time."
“We want to end this case and get over with it,” said the statement.
“We are looking for a way out that would ensure the exchange of the pilots for the nine Lebanese pilgrims,” the statement added.
A group calling itself Zuwwar al-Imam Ali al-Reza has claimed responsibility for kidnapping the Turkish Airlines pilots near Beirut airport at the beginning of August, demanding to exchange them for nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims kidnapped by rebels in Syria May of last year.
The captors also said they want guarantees that Lebanese authorities would not pursue the kidnappers “who volunteered to end the suffering of the hostages’ families.”
Three suspects are currently in custody for their alleged connection to the kidnapping, all of whom are relatives of the Lebanese hostages.
Last week, a Lebanese judge charged 13 people in the case.
The hostages' families have repeatedly denied their involvement in the kidnapping.
The statement by the captors came after the local television station LBCI broadcasted an audio message they claimed was from the two Turkish Airlines pilots.
In the message, the two voices identified themselves as pilot Murat Akpinar and copilot Murat Agca.