Nusra Front Releases 16 Servicemen after 15 Months of Captivity

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
  • W460
  • W460

The al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front released on Tuesday 16 servicemen it had abducted from the northeastern border town of Arsal in 2014.

The servicemen were released through a Qatari-mediated deal that also included a prisoner swap to release a number of inmates from Lebanese jails.

The swap took place on the outskirts of Arsal.

The servicemen were transported to Lebanon by the Red Cross amid scenes of jubilation among their loved ones, who were monitoring the developments in Beirut.

The servicemen told MTV that they were treated well by their captors, thanking General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, Qatar, and other officials for their efforts to ensure their release.

They also hoped that attention would be focused on the displaced families on the Lebanese-Syrian border to help provide them with aid.

Hours later, the freed men arrived in Beirut, dressed in their police and military uniforms, clean-shaven, and with their hair freshly cut. An official welcoming ceremony was held for them at the Grand Serail.

They later celebrated their freedom along with their families at the nearby Riad al-Solh Square before they headed to their hometowns.

Thirteen inmates, including five women, were freed in exchange for the servicemen, said al-Jazeera television.

They include the divorcee of Islamic State leader Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi, Saja al-Dulaimi.

She told reporters at the scene that she had divorced al-Baghdadi six or seven years ago and that she intends to head to Turkey.

The prisoners were originally intended to be handed to al-Nusra, but a security source told AFP that at least 10 of them were returned to Beirut instead, at their request.

A lawyer who had overseen the mediation efforts said that the deal calls for allowing the displaced present on the outskirts of Arsal to receive monthly batches of aid.

A safe zone will also be set up in Wadi Hmeid to ensure the security of civilians, he revealed.

The deal also includes catering to the displaced people's legal affairs in Lebanon, he said.

“The Lebanese government and Qatari sponsor have pledged to coordinate these efforts with us,” he added.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam is set to meet with the servicemen at the Grand Serail, reported Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5).

Earlier, the Red Cross had received the corpse of soldier Mohammed Hamieh, who was executed by al-Nusra Front in September 2014.

His body had been taken to the military hospital in Beirut to undergo DNA tests to verify his identity.

Nine hostages are being held by the IS and their families do not know much about their fate, said LBCI television on Tuesday.

Ibrahim later stated: "Our joy today will not be complete until the release of the hostages held by the IS."

“We are ready to hold negotiations with the IS to release the captives if someone on their end voices readiness to do so,” he added.

Nineteen troops were killed in August 2014 in clashes that erupted between the army and the al-Nusra Front and IS.

The servicemen were abducted in the aftermath of the fighting.

The release of the 16 servicemen ended months of anxiety over their fate after the two groups had previously executed four of the hostages.



Comments 18
Missing humble 01 December 2015, 10:14

Dirty Al Nusra....may you rot in Hell forever...

Default-user-icon southern & alien (Guest) 01 December 2015, 10:41

hello humble, do you know why i was banned? btw, i have another account @alien, so please take note.

Missing humble 01 December 2015, 10:43

Everybody knows why you were banned...

Default-user-icon Return of the_roar (Guest) 01 December 2015, 11:03

Nice to see you back Southern

Default-user-icon ado.austraia (Guest) 01 December 2015, 11:20

44 minutes ago NNA: Israeli warplanes fly at a high altitude over the southern areas of Marjayoun.

Ouch.... I told everybody yesterday that even Israel cannot fly over Lebanon now because of the mighty Russian S400. I feel really stupid...... as usual.

Default-user-icon OBSERVER (Guest) 01 December 2015, 11:55

I told you you were embarrassing!

Default-user-icon Prince Bandar (Guest) 01 December 2015, 14:23

Hello ado.australia

still laughing

Default-user-icon msharafieh not ashrafieh (Guest) 01 December 2015, 11:58

well said abbas, very well said

Default-user-icon speakteezly (Guest) 01 December 2015, 14:22

Saja came back to beirut and is planning to travel to Turkey. Your cowards arrested her for no reason. Nice sense of humor; typical dirzi arslani

Default-user-icon James Bond 007 (Guest) 01 December 2015, 14:33

Rot in hell Al-Nusra with your brothers ISIL, bunch of thugs and Lawless animals.

Thumb ado.australia 01 December 2015, 15:00

Joy to all Lebanese! Thank God for their safe return and may God bless them and their families for their service to The Lebanon!

Thumb Mystic 01 December 2015, 15:05

God also bless the martyrs that fell in combat in Arsal murdered by Nusra salafis.

Thumb ado.australia 01 December 2015, 16:43

These things are like Zombies! They cant be negotiated with or reasoned with... They can't be allied with or find common ground with! They want to kill you and I! Even moderate person is a target. We, the people of this Earth, that breath the same air, that cherish our children's lives... whether christian, shiite, druze, moderate sunni, jewish, buddhist, hindu, atheists, pagan... we are of this living earth! These people are like a zombie death cult! Like the TV show "the walking dead"!

Thumb cedar 01 December 2015, 15:00

Too many conflicting reports... they say 16 released. Then 13. Then 8 are still captive.. naharnet make it clear. How many released and how many still captive. Simple.

Thumb _mowaten_ 01 December 2015, 17:15

there were 24 captives i believe, 16 with nusra and 8 with daesh. the 16 that were with nusra have been released, remain the 8 with daesh.

Thumb ado.australia 01 December 2015, 15:23

better still is not to respond to such insults! Lets instead agree that if all Lebanese loved our neighbours and respected each other, then at least the Lebanese world would be a better place!

Thumb Mystic 01 December 2015, 15:23

Lebanese Army and the Resistance sacrificed alot to keep Lebanon safe from these salafi takfiris.

Real heroes.

Thumb freedomarch 02 December 2015, 21:20

As this chapter is almost over, hearing "such a voice" is not correct especially that you are asking for all "1.3" Billion to be killed. in any way. All Terrorists hat have anything bad or those who want insist on being radical terrorists, YES all of them should be killed. They would count to "0.001" and that is the reality you are ignoring.