BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Former hostages thank Doha for release efforts

The released pilgrims are greeted by their family members at Beirut Airport, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Nine Lebanese men who were freed last year after over 16 months of captivity in Syria traveled to Qatar Sunday to personally thank Doha for its efforts toward their release.

A delegation of the former hostages headed by the ambassador of the EU Human Rights Commission, Rahab Bitar, met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Doha-based Al-Watan newspaper reported.

The Lebanese expressed gratitude to Qatar for its efforts that led to their release, the report added.

Eleven Shiite Lebanese were kidnapped by a rebel group in Azaz, near Aleppo, in May 2012 while returning from a pilgrimage in Iran. Two were released a few months later, while the remaining nine returned to Lebanon in October of last year.

Qatar played a major role in the mediation efforts that led to the release of the men and the release of two Turkish pilots who were kidnapped in Lebanon as retaliation over the Azaz hostage case.

 

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