BEIRUT: Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, director-general of General Security, arrived in Syria Friday morning to follow up on negotiations for the release of nine Lebanese pilgrims held hostage by Syrian rebels since last year.
A General Security source said that Ibrahim is set to hold talks with a number of Syrian officials in connection with the case.
The source said that Ibrahim was negotiating a deal that would see the release of prisoners in the Syrian governement prisons in exchange of the Lebanese hostages' release.
The source added that Ibrahim had recently met with the hostages' kidnappers in Turkey and that negotiations are on the right track.
Ibrahim flew directly from Belgium to Turkey on Thursday in an unplanned visit to follow up on the hostages' case.
He arrived back at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport late Thursday night.
The nine pilgrims were among 11 Lebanese kidnapped by Syrian rebels in May of last year in the Azaz district of Aleppo. The pilgrims were returning after completing a religious pilgrimage in Iran. Two were released in August and September of last year.
Positive signs emerged last week that the nine would be released soon. Ibrahim is negotiating for the release of the pilgrims with Qatari and Turkish mediators on behalf of Lebanon.