Officials Advise Authorities to Follow in Hizbullah Footsteps over Captivesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The indirect negotiations between Hizbullah and Syrian fighters that led to the release of a party member should be a motive for the Lebanese state to arrest jihadists and use them in a prisoners swap, officials said Thursday.
The pro-Hizbullah officials told As Safir newspaper that militants from the Islamic State group, al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army should not be referred to trial.
Such rebels and jihadists should be used as a bargaining chip to release Lebanese captives, the sources said.
The remarks came after the March 14 alliance's General Secretariat and several officials from the camp condemned Hizbullah's negotiations that ensured the release of Imad Ayyad on Tuesday.
Ayyad had been taken captive by Syrian rebels in the mountains of the Qalamun region near Lebanon's border.
He was released in exchange for two gunmen who were in Hizbullah custody.
The March 14 coalition slammed Hizbullah on Wednesday, saying its “deal is another sign that it undermines the role of the state.”
“The party resorts to the state when it cannot achieve a goal and chooses to disregard it when it believes it can obtain its aims on its own,” it added.
But As Safir's sources defended Hizbullah's move, saying the swap happened inside Syrian territories.
They also called on the Lebanese authorities to negotiate with the jihadists, who kidnapped Lebanese soldiers and policemen in August, similar to what the party did.
State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammed Fneish expressed similar views on Thursday, saying the Hizbullah fighter was taken captive outside Lebanese territories.
The servicemen were taken captive by the IS and al-Nusra Front, when the militants overran the northeastern border town of Arsal and engaged in deadly gunbattles with Lebanese troops.
Their kidnapping and the captivity of Ayyad took place in different circumstances, said Fneish.