BEIRUT—Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate on Tuesday freed 16 Lebanese troopers and law enforcement in exchange for the release of some Islamists held in Lebanon, which includes the ex-spouse of the head of Islamic Point out.
The swap, brokered by the Gulf condition of Qatar, took location in the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal, where the a few soldiers and thirteen policemen have been captured throughout battling in August 2014 among Lebanese stability forces and militant Islamist groups, such as the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Entrance and Islamic Condition.
Relatives of the freed Lebanese guys, who had been sharply critical of the Beirut government’s initiatives to earn their release and had staged protests throughout region, celebrated in Martyr’s Square in the center of the cash.
Nine other Lebanese soldiers had been still being held by Islamic Condition, mentioned Lebanese military spokesman Col. Anis Khoury.
The names of all the radical Islamists freed by Lebanese authorities weren’t immediately disclosed. But in accordance Al Jazeera, 1 of the two broadcast networks filming the swap, one particular was Suja al-Dulaimi, discovered by Lebanese authorities as an ex-wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“I am heading to Turkey now,” Ms. Dulaimi instructed the network. She was proven sitting in a truck with two young children prior to she was handed more than to Nusra Front fighters in Arsal, which was overseen by the Lebanese Crimson Cross.
Ms. Dulaimi was detained by Lebanese authorities as she attempted to cross into Lebanon from Syria in December 2014.
Relatives of the released troopers and police officers had campaigned vigorously for the men’s liberty, blocking roads and mounting other demonstrations to underline what they explained was the government’s ineptitude.
Because September they have held a round-the-clock vigil exterior the Lebanese capital’s most distinguished federal government creating, the Grand Serail, exhibiting protest signs and pictures of the captured men.
In an job interview Tuesday with Al Jazeera television community, Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Machnouk credited Qatar for negotiating the prisoner swap, which also named for the risk-free passage of humanitarian assist to Syrian refugees in Arsal.
Mr. Machnouk stated there has been no immediate conversation between his government and Islamic Point out above the 9 Lebanese troopers and law enforcement even now in captivity. He mentioned, however, that Lebanese authorities would not reject any avenue obtainable to obtain their launch.
Qatar has mediated earlier hostage cases involving armed groups in the location, which includes the launch in 2014 of American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who experienced been held by Nusra Front in Syria for two several years.
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