Report: Delegation Meets with Pilgrims' Abductors in Syria, Says Lebanese Men in 'Good Health'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A Beirut delegation has met with the kidnappers of the abducted Lebanese pilgrims in Syria, the Turkish state-run Anadolu agency reported on Monday.
"Interior Minister Marwan Charbel has deputed a delegation to hold talks with the abductors in Syria's northern city of Aazaz,” the agency said.
It noted that the pilgrims are in a safe place in Aazaz and are receiving all necessary treatments: “They are in good health”.
The news agency revealed that the talks with a group of the kidnappers discussed their demands and conditions for releasing the pilgrims.
"Freeing Syrian prisoners in Lebanese jails is their main request,” the agency said. “Forming an official delegation by the cabinet to negotiate with the abductors is another demand”.
The delegation will visit Syria again and hold another round of talks with the kidnappers, Anadolu remarked.
Sources expressed that “positive results might be achieved from these meetings in March”.
Eleven Lebanese pilgrims were kidnapped in Syria's Aleppo province in May 2012 as they were making their way back to Lebanon by land from pilgrimage in Iran.
Two of them have since been released, while the rest remain held in Aazaz.
The families of the pilgrims had frequently held Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar responsible for their ongoing abduction, while saying that the government had not exerted enough efforts to ensure their release.
Prime Minister Najib Miqati and Charbel had recently traveled to Turkey in order to discuss the abduction with Turkish officials and media reports recently said that Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan had joined efforts to ensure the pilgrims' release.