A general view of the town of Arsal (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Doubts have been cast over claims that at least nine Lebanese servicemen being held hostage by ISIS militants were relocated to the group's stronghold in Syria, parties involved in the negotiations told The Daily Star. A source in contact with ISIS militants in Qalamoun said the group denied having transferred their Lebanese hostages to Syria's eastern province of Raqqa. ISIS is believed to be holding nine of 25 Lebanese servicemen taken hostage by Islamist militants during clashes with the Lebanese Army in Arsal last August.The Nusra Front, which will likely gain the upper hand in Qalamoun once ISIS withdraws the bulk of its men, might approach the group to hand over their hostages, a tactic it has tried before to simplify the often-fraught negotiations with the Lebanese government.
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