World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s intelligence agency MİT is nearing to end to secure the release of kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims held in Syria for nearly a year and the release will take place in a matter of days.
Turkish intelligence has been working on this issue for some time now at the frequent requests of Lebanese authorities and families of the kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims. The intelligence is concluding its works and they will be released in a matter of days.
The footage of the kidnapped Lebanese showed that they are happy and well. The names of the kidnapped Lebanese are Hassan Arzune, Haj Abbas Mahmoud, Hassan Hammune, Ali Turmus, Abbas Hassan Shuayb, Haj Ebu Ali Salih, Muhammad Mounzir, Seyyid Ali Abbas and Mukhtar Ali Hussein Zagib. They said in the video that their health situation and morale is well and that they are sure that they will return their country and rejoin with their families.
Syrian anti-regime forces abducted 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims last May, apparently to use them in a prisoner swap with the Syrian government. Two of them were later released.
Turkey, which insists that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power, is hosting several leaders of the Free Syrian Army, which primarily consists of Syrian army defectors and is in close contact with the Syrian National Council, an umbrella organization for anti-regime political groups.
From time to time since then, Lebanese leaders have traveled to Ankara to ask Turkish authorities to intervene with the captors.
Two Turkish nationals were kidnapped in Lebanon months after the abduction of the Lebanese men in Syria. They were later released.
Earlier this year, families of the kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims also staged several protests outside Turkish Airlines office, asking Turkey to work harder for the release of their relatives.
Zagib said he joins with his “revolutionary Syrian brothers” to demand the release of all women in Syrian prisons, referring to an earlier demand that all women prisoners are released by the Syrian opposition group that held the group.
The group, who captured the pilgrims call themselves “Northern Strom” and holds nine Lebanese pilgrims.
The two of kidnapped 11 Lebanese pilgrims were released thanks to the Turkey’s mediation in August 2012.