Muslim Scholars Committee Suspends Mediation to Release Arsal Captivesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Muslim Scholars Committee delegation announced on Friday that it was suspending its mediation regarding the release of the soldiers and security forces abducted from the northeastern border town of Arsal.
It explained that it took its decision pending better circumstances in the mediation.
The delegation made its announcement after holding talks at the Grand Serail with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
“Our services will remain available to the premiership and army,” it added in a brief statement.
Committee spokesman Sheikh Adnan Imama had denied to As Safir newspaper earlier on Friday that foreign mediation had been employed to ensure the release of the captives.
He added however that the committee “welcomes any foreign intervention that would end the crisis.”
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq reiterated in comments published in local newspapers on Friday that “Qatar and Turkey haven't entered the negotiations with the gunmen.”
“Any side involved in the case can suspend its mediation at any time, but the fact is that there is no Qatari or Turkish meddling.”
He pointed out that the “state is carrying out its duties in a confidential manner... Such a case shouldn't be the spotlight in news as this will not benefit the missing personnel.”
The Muslim Scholars Committee delegation has been tasked with mediating the release of a number of soldiers and security forces abducted from Arsal by Islamist gunmen following clashes in the town earlier in August.
The fighting broke out on August 2 between the army and militants in light of the arrest of a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front.
The unrest ended with a ceasefire on August 7 and the withdrawal of the gunmen, who kidnapped the soldiers and security forces.
Eight of the captives have so far been released.
Media reports suggested that the captors are seeking to exchange their captives for Islamist inmates held at Roumieh Prison.