Lebanon News

Lebanese pilgrim kidnapped in Syria released

File - A snapshot taken from LBC television channel shows two of the Lebanese hostages after Al-Jazeera TV aired photos of some of them. (The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: One of the 10 remaining Lebanese hostages held by Syrian rebels since May was released near the Turkish-Syrian border Tuesday, security sources told The Daily Star.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Lebanese authorities were notified of Ibrahim Awad's release earlier in the day.

The sources also spoke of the possibility of the release of two other of the hostages.

Speaking to LBCI from the Bab al-Salam border crossing, Awad said the remaining nine hostages were in good health and reiterated the captors' demand for an apology from Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah for his supportive stances of President Bashar Assad.

Bab al-Salam is one of several border crossings seized by the Free Syrian Army.

Awad added that he would be handed over to Turkish officials at 2 p.m. and head to Beirut afterward.

Eleven Lebanese men were kidnapped in the Aleppo district of Azaz on May 22, shortly after crossing into Syria from Turkey. They were on their way back to Lebanon following a pilgrimage to Shiite holy sites in Iran.

One of the hostages, Hussein Omar, was released last month by the rebels, who said that their move came in response to a request by the Committee of Muslim Scholars.

Earlier Tuesday, Sheikh Salem Rafei, deputy head of the Committee of Muslim Scholars said Awad would be released due to health reasons.

Rafei said the work of the committee would continue until all the remaining hostages were set free.

“Our efforts don’t end here, we will keep in contact with the kidnappers and the Turkish state until the rest of the hostages will be released as well, said Rafei, a key negotiator in the case.





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