Nusra Front 'days from releasing Lebanese soldiers'

Nusra Front 'days from releasing Lebanese soldiers'
Head of families associated tells al-Araby al-Jadeed that 16 men captured by armed group last year in Arsal will be released in exchange for prisoners and money.
1 min read
14 April, 2015
Families of those abducted protested in Beirut for their release [AFP]

The Nusra Front is preparing to release Lebanese soldiers abducted during last year's battle for the Lebanese town of Arsal, the head of a group representing the families of those abducted has said.

Hassan Youssef, told al-Araby al-Jadeed on Tuesday that negotiations with Nusra had "reached advanced stages, as Lebanese general security chief Abbas Ibrahim is currently in Turkey to follow-up on the case".

Youssef said the deal would include "the release of 16 soldiers held by Nusra in return for the release of a number of Islamist prisoners and a certain amount of money, all to take place within seven to 10 days".

This is the first time a release date has been mentioned since the Lebanese soldiers were abducted last August after fighters from Nusra and the Islamic State group took over the Lebanese border town of Arsal for a few days.

The IS group holds nine Lebanese soldiers. Four of those abducted have been killed by their captors.

The families of the abducted soldiers said they would suspend protests in Riyad al-Solh square in Beirut on the news of the deal with Nusra being reached.

This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.