Lebanese soldiers patrol the area near Arsal, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The government was tight-lipped Thursday over negotiations to free military and security personnel held by jihadists, as the Muslim Scholars Committee hinted it might suspend its mediation if no response was given to the captors' demands.Committee member Sheikh Adnan Amama said the scholars were waiting for Lebanon's official answer to the demands, put forward by militants from Syria's Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, to free 29 Lebanese Army soldiers and Internal Security Forces members who were seized during clashes in the border town of Arsal in early August. Last year, Qatar, with mediation from General Security head Abbas Ibrahim, played a crucial role in the release of nine Lebanese pilgrims taken hostage by rebel groups in Syria.While the Muslim Scholars Committee denies that the release of Roumieh prison inmates factors into the conditions set by the militants, other sources acquainted with the fighters claim that they figure prominently.
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