BEIRUT: Syria handed over Saturday eight Lebanese and Palestinian fishermen it had detained to Lebanon’s General Security, the National News Agency reported.
Following contacts between head of General Security Brig. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and Syrian authorities, the eight fishermen were freed, the NAA said.
The NNA report went against earlier accounts that the freed fishermen were all Lebanese.
Lt. Col. Khattar Nasereddine from General Security was handed the fishermen at the Arida border crossing, north Lebanon.
The Lebanese Army said Saturday Syria’s coast guard detained eight fishermen off the coast of Arida.
Security sources told The Daily Star Saturday that a group of fishermen came under fire by a Syrian patrol boat at around 8:00 a.m. and were then led out of Lebanese territory toward a Syrian naval base.
According to the sources, the boat was nearing the Syrian side of the Nahr al-Kabir River which partially forms the northern border between Syria and Lebanon.
In response to the detention, residents blocked the Aida border crossing between Lebanon and Syria in protest.