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Syria hostage deal: Two Turkish pilots freed in Lebanon

By Hemant Abhishek | Last Updated: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 23:58

Zee Media Bureau/Hemant Abhishek

Beirut: Two Turkish pilots, Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca, who were being held hostage in Lebanon by Syrian rebels, have been released, Turkish state media was reported on Saturday as saying.

The two pilots were being expected to arrive in Turkey soon after they were handed over to Lebanese officials by the hostage-keepers.

Their kidnapping was linked with the capture of nine Lebanese Shia pilgrims in Syria in May 2012.

After Lebanon`s Interior Minister Marwan Charbel on Friday confirmed reports that nine Lebanese citizens kidnapped by Syrian rebels in 2012 had been freed, it was only matter of time before the duo were set free.

The former hostages "are in a secure place and are ready to enter Lebanon," Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement, citing the country`s security chief.

The hostage deal comes after a senior Lebanese security official travelled to Damascus to discuss a prisoner exchange deal to free the group, who were abducted in Syria`s northern Aleppo province in May 2012 as their families said they were returning from a pilgrimage to Iran.

First Published: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 23:58

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