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Qatar brokers release of Lebanese hostages held in Syria

The Gulf State of Qatar has successfully mediated the release of nine Lebanese kidnapped in Syria, Al-Jazeera Satellite TV reported on Saturday.

According to Al-Jazeera, the Qatari Foreign Minister, Khalid Al-Atiyya, will accompany the chief of the General Security Services in Lebanon, Colonel Abbas Ibrahim, and the freed Lebanese back to Beirut.

Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Sharbal confirmed that the freed hostages would return within one or two days.

This development comes in the wake of a commitment given by the Qataris at the last meeting of the Arab League to work for the release of the hostages.

Regional observers believe the freeing of the nine Lebanese could pave the way for the release of two Turkish pilots who were kidnapped in Beirut last August.

The ordeal of the nine Lebanese began sixteen months ago when an unknown Syrian armed group kidnapped 11 Lebanese pilgrims who were returning home from Iran. Two were later released while the other nine were held in captivity.

According to Al-Jazeera, the nine Lebanese are now in Turkey awaiting their transfer to Lebanon.

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