BEIRUT - Lebanon is negotiating with Sunni militants to prevent the killing of two captured soldiers, the country's health minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
Wael Abu Faour would not say which group he was talking with but both Islamic State and al Qaeda's Syria wing, the Nusra Front, have captured Lebanese soldiers. Three have been killed.
"We received a specific request from the kidnappers in exchange for halting the execution of the soldiers ... Matters are going in a positive direction," he said, without giving details on the demand.
Many Sunni Syrian rebels and hardline Lebanese Sunni Islamists accuse Lebanon's army of working with the Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, which has sent fighters to aid Syrian President Bashar Assad, a member of the Shi'ite-derived Alawite minority.
A two-day battle over the weekend between Sunni militants and the army ended on Monday when government forces retook neighborhoods in the coastal city of Tripoli.