5 Hizbullah Captives Return Home as Refugees, Nusra Militants Reach Central Syria

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Al-Qaida's former Syria affiliate al-Nusra Front on Thursday handed over five Hizbullah captives to the Lebanese party as part of a ceasefire agreement that also involved the evacuation of thousands of militants and refugees from northeast Lebanon to Syria.

The five captives – Ahmed Mezher, Moussa Kourani, Hassan Taha, Mohammed Mahdi Shoaib and Mohammed Jawad Yassine – were handed over at the al-Saan crossing in Syria's central Hama province.

A Hizbullah convoy then carried the five fighters to Lebanon via the Joussiyeh border crossing. A celebration was to be held later in their honor in the Lebanese border town of al-Qaa.

Thousands of Syrian refugees and militants evacuated from the outskirts of the northeastern Lebanese border town of Arsal meanwhile arrived in central Syria in territory held by rebel and jihadist fighters.

They were bussed out of the restive border area between Lebanon and Syria as part the ceasefire deal with Hizbullah.

An AFP correspondent said the freed Hizbullah fighters arrived in Syrian Red Crescent vehicles in Hama's al-Saan area.

A total of 7,777 people -- a vast majority of them civilians but also including militants -- were transported back into Syria from Lebanon's Arsal region on Wednesday in line with the ceasefire.

The agreement ended six days of fighting in the border area between Hizbullah and al-Qaida's former Syrian affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, previously known as the al-Nusra Front.

On Thursday, buses carrying three groups of Syrian jihadists and refugees arrived in an area of Hama under the control of rebels and jihadists, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Two more groups arrived later in the day.

The five Hizbullah fighters were captured in central and northern Syria in 2015 and 2016.

Another three Hizbullah fighters were released as part of the deal late on Tuesday. They had been captured during the latest Arsal offensive after losing their way in a mountainous region.

Arsal's outskirts had been used for years as a hideout by Syrian militants, but was also home to an unknown number of refugees seeking shelter from Syria's six-year war. 

Al-Nusra Front was al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria until mid-2016 when it broke off ties, before going on to found a new jihadist-led alliance called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which now controls large swathes of Syria's northwestern Idlib province.

Hizbullah launched the offensive on the Syrian militants on July 21 and had cornered rival fighters in a small pocket of territory when it announced the truce.

The deal also saw the release of three detainees held in Lebanon's Roumieh prison.

The first phase of the deal took place on Monday, when Hizbullah and HTS exchanged the bodies of nine Syrian fighters for the remains of five Hizbullah fighters.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees live in the town of Arsal, adjacent to the border region, and an unknown number are also thought to have taken shelter in the surrounding mountains.

More than one million Syrians are registered with the United Nations as refugees in Lebanon, a country of just four million people.

Comments 16
Missing humble 03 August 2017, 11:40

If they take us to war against Israel, the whole Lebanon will be entirely destroyed and of course Jerusalem will not be liberated.

Missing humble 03 August 2017, 17:29

All evil people.

Thumb i.report 03 August 2017, 18:39

Hezbollah negotiates with Al Qaïda... on aura tout vu. the next step will be joint training in Kandahar and Qom.

Thumb gigahabib 03 August 2017, 21:23

And your Gulf masters fund them. What's worse? At least Hezbollah has eradicated them from Lebanon in the process.

Thumb justin 03 August 2017, 22:22


You always said Israel's air force is Nusra/ISIS air force. Why do you think in the Arsal 'battle' the Israeli air force did not intervene in favor of Nusra? I mean they did not have to send all their latest F-35 fighter jets; one old antiquated F-4 from the Vietnam war era would have tipped the balance, don't you think?

Thumb warrior 04 August 2017, 06:17

lol and they want to defeat Israel;)!

Thumb gigahabib 04 August 2017, 12:10

Jewstin, because there is no Israeli/Gulf acceptance of Nusra to be in Lebanon, only in Syria, where it acts as their tool to weaken Syria.

Lebanon is still supposedly supported by the west, but this may change as soon as Israel wants.

Thumb Puppet 04 August 2017, 12:30

I respect Mr. Mega Habib for answering Mr. Jewstine albeit later than I would have hoped.

Thumb gigahabib 04 August 2017, 16:37

Glad I can make your life less pointless by having something to look forward to.

Thumb justin 04 August 2017, 18:25

"because there is no Israeli/Gulf acceptance of Nusra to be in Lebanon"

I see.... so Israel let your hezbollag advance on their nusra ground forces because there is no Israeli acceptance of Nusra to be in Lebanon.

Giga logic!

Thumb Zaghloul 03 August 2017, 19:14

lol @ Fighters Captured

Thumb ex-fpm 03 August 2017, 20:55

18 minutes ago Freed Hizbullah fighter: We thank Syria and Iran for their role in our release.

and Abbas Ibrahim says these are 'Lebanese' citizens.

Thumb marcus 03 August 2017, 22:04

3 minutes ago Mashnouq to LBCI: I cannot congratulate Hizbullah over a victory in Arsal but I congratulate the families of the captives on their sons' safe return.

Listen to the loser, just listen!

Poor captives; they were 'kidnapped' right from their homes and villages. Shame on you and those who put you in power. You should be shaming them for sending their criminal sons to kill and massacre in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Thumb marcus 03 August 2017, 22:13

DNA - 03/08/2017 إنتصار إلهي في عرسال

Thumb doodle-dude 03 August 2017, 22:29

5 Hizbullah Terrorists Freed

lol, and didn't the Shia wealthy Australian who travels the globe & has inside knowledge that no other person on this planet knows about said it was all propaganda and there were no Hezbollah prisoners with Nusra and that Hezbollah fighters are men of god and they fight "till the death".

Thumb Maxx 05 August 2017, 00:34

I saw the photo and I though they were going to announce a new sit-com a la "The Five Stooges". I am bitterly disappointed. At least the Lebanese Army soldiers held captive - the ones that Hizb menaced the Lebanese government against negotiating with Daesh to secure their release - looked more dignified.