BEIRUT: A Lebanese delegation has met on orders from Interior Minister Marwan Charbel with the kidnappers of Lebanese hostages in Syria, Turkey’s Anatolia news agency reported Monday.
Quoting unnamed sources, the agency said that the Lebanese delegation was assigned by Charbel to travel to the town of Azaz in northern Syria to meet with Syrian rebels holding nine Lebanese hostages since May last year.
The delegation, which returned to Beirut Sunday, had met a number of the kidnappers and was informed of some of their demands in exchange for the release of the Lebanese hostages, it said.
Among these demands, the agency said, is “the release of Syrian opposition figures detained in Lebanese prisons and the formation by the Lebanese government of an official delegation to visit the kidnappers and negotiate with them” on the release of Lebanese hostages.
The agency quoted the sources as saying that the hostages are in good health and are in a safe place in Azaz. It said the Lebanese delegation is waiting for a signal from the kidnappers to visit Azaz again.
It quoted the sources as expecting “positive results” in the hostage issue by mid-March. The nine remaining Lebanese hostages were among 11 men kidnapped in the Syrian district of Aleppo by rebels in May last year.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 19, 2013, on page 4.