Report: 'Abou Anas' New Arsal Captives Mediator

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Media reports have revealed the identity of the new Qatari mediator who was tasked with conducting negotiations with terrorist groups to release the servicemen abducted by Islamist gunmen, as the government continues contacts with the Islamist State in that regard.

Sources following up closely on the file said that “Qatar has resumed direct negotiations with the kidnappers through a Syrian negotiator named Abou Anas,” al-Akhbar daily reported on Saturday.

“Al-Nusra Front has been conveying positive signals, in a bid to improve its image, indicating that the negotiations to free the soldiers are serious,” the sources said.

“Although the negotiations with the Islamic State have resumed, but the discussions have not passed yet the stage of setting the primary demands for the release,” other sources told al-Joumhouria daily.

Negotiations with the IS have been halted for a while now, but the daily's sources pointed that General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim still awaits the list of names to be freed in exchange for the Arsal captives.

Currently there is a mediator in Arsal whose identity has been kept concealed, and he is contacting Ibrahim on a daily basis briefing him on the results achieved, the sources stated.

Al-Nusra has submitted on Friday a list of names of 40 inmates demanding their release in the exchange deal, but Lebanon has refused to free some of them who hold Arab nationalities, according to reports.

More than 25 soldiers have been held captive in August when fierce clashes erupted between al-Nusra, the IS group and the Lebanese army in the northeastern town of Arsal.

A few of them have since been released, four were executed, and the rest remain held.

The captors are demanding the release of Islamists held in Lebanon as a condition for their release.



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