Lebanon FM says Arab mediation to free hostages 'soon'

By REUTERS
May 23, 2012 14:26

BEIRUT - Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said on Wednesday that Lebanese Shi'ites kidnapped in northern Syria by insurgents hoping to trade the captives for detainees in Syrian government custody would be freed soon.

"Our information is that, God willing, the Lebanese will be released very soon," he told Reuters. "We can't say who is conducting the negotiations, but the matter is ongoing and, God willing, we're going to reach a positive result."

Mansour confirmed the party negotiating for the release of the hostages was Arab, but declined to specify further.

Families of Lebanese Shi'ites abducted in northern Aleppo as they returned from pilgrimage in Iran on Tuesday blocked roads in mainly Shi'ite neighborhoods of Beirut, demanding the release of men they said were held captive by Syrian rebels.

Relatives of those being held said rebels who seized a bus carrying the pilgrims set free the females and elderly men, but held 13 men to demand the release of insurgents. Syria's state SANA news agency said there were 12 captives, one of them a Syrian.


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