Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, has introduced 16 Lebanese troopers and policemen held captive since 2014 in a Qatari-mediated deal.
In exchange, the Nusra Front obtained help, as nicely as thirteen prisoners, which includes Saja al-Dulaimi, the ex-wife of Islamic Condition (IS) jihadist group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and her kids.
The exchange brought a partial end to a hostage disaster that has haunted Lebanon for in excess of a year.
The Nusra Front seized the Lebanese during an assault on the border city of Arsal in August 2014 mounted with each other with IS — which is nevertheless considered to be holding nine troopers captured in the incursion.
Live Television footage from the border spot amongst Lebanon and Syria showed the Lebanese captives in vehicles accompanied by masked males armed with assault rifles and waving the Nusra Front flag prior to they have been released to the Pink Cross.
Dulaimi, fully veiled, was demonstrated in stay Television set footage from the area with her three kids who had been with her in prison.
Nusra Entrance fighters had been demonstrated kissing and hugging the sons of Dulaimi, who was arrested by the Lebanese authorities a yr ago.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, she stated her wish was to return to Beirut and then to depart to Turkey.
“We accomplished the total agreement with Nusra. We obtained our heroic soldiers and we are on our way back to Beirut,” best Lebanese stability formal Abbas Ibrahim, who oversaw the swap, advised Reuters by phone.
“This pleasure not total until the return of individuals kidnapped by Daesh (IS). We are all set to negotiate with Daesh if we uncover a person to negotiate with,” he stated.
The Nusra Entrance fighters chanted “God is great” as they arrived with the captives in preparing for the swap.
1 of the captives, interviewed by Al Jazeera, explained the team experienced treated them effectively. However Nusra is explained to have killed 4 of the original captives.
The trade started with the Nusra Front releasing the physique of one of the Lebanese soldiers it experienced killed in captivity, Mohamed Hamieh.
Qatar has been included in efforts to mediate the release of the captives for a 12 months or more.
A preceding hard work to protected their launch broke down a 12 months ago, after 1 of the captives was killed.
Subject areas: unrest-conflict-and-war, prisons-and-punishment, terrorism, lebanon, syrian-arab-republic