Syrian refugees protest in Arsal against the شrmy's measures, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called Friday on the government to stop dithering on the hostage crisis and endorse a swap deal with ISIS and Nusra Front militants holding at least 21 Lebanese soldiers and policemen captive.Jumblatt's call came two days after Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk signaled that the government was not opposed to a prisoner exchange with ISIS and the Nusra Front in what appeared to be a departure from the government's firm stance to reject any swap deal with the militants.Abu Faour also urged the judiciary to speed up trials of Islamists held for alleged involvement in the 2007 battle between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam in the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.The Nusra Front sent messages recorded by the captive soldiers to their families Friday, with the hostages calling on the government to work to free them.Arsal's residents withdrew from a protest in the town Friday after some Syrian refugees began shouting slogans supporting ISIS and Nusra in a demonstration intended to condemn the Lebanese Army's crackdown in the area.The detainees, some of whom were Lebanese, according to security sources, are suspected of having collaborated with jihadists during the five-day battle in Arsal with the Army last month.
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