Abducted Lebanese Shiite Pilgrims Released in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims abducted by Syrian rebels last year have been released and are on their way to Turkey before heading home, Lebanon's Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said.
Nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims kidnapped by rebels in Syria last year have been released, with signs that two Turkish pilots whose abduction was linked to their capture may also be freed.
"The nine Lebanese held in Syria are on their way to Turkey," Lebanon's Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told AFP.
The country's Prime Minister Najib Mikati added in a statement that the former hostages were "in a secure place and are ready to enter Lebanon".
Mikati extended congratulations to the free Lebanese, their families and the whole country on turning "a sad page for Lebanon. We thank all those who contributed to achieving their freedom, brothers and friendly nations."
He also revealed that Qatar's Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, who is in Turkey, will accompany the pilgrims back to Lebanon.
The release also came after a senior Lebanese security official travelled to Damascus to discuss a prisoner exchange deal to free the group, who were abducted in Syria's northern Aleppo province in May 2012.