Syria Qaeda urges Lebanon to negotiate for captive troops

Al Qaeda`s Syria affiliate called on the Lebanese authorities Saturday to discuss its terms for the release of dozens of captive troops, after three of them were executed.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 27, 2014, 16:00 PM IST

Beirut: Al Qaeda`s Syria affiliate called on the Lebanese authorities Saturday to discuss its terms for the release of dozens of captive troops, after three of them were executed.

Al-Nusra Front killed one of the around 30 soldiers and police Syrian rebels captured in fighting in a Lebanese town near the Syrian border last month. Rival jihadists of the Islamic State group beheaded the other two.

In a video posted on YouTube, Al-Nusra accused Lebanese authorities of allowing its Shiite Muslim foe Hezbollah, which has been heavily involved in the civil war in neighbouring Syria, to block negotiations for the soldiers` release

Hezbollah "is causing all attempts to negotiate the release of the Lebanese hostages to fail," the video charges.

Al-Nusra has previously demanded that in return for the release of the captive soldiers, Hezbollah end its intervention in Syria on the side of President Bashar al-Assad`s regime and that Lebanon free jailed Islamists.

The Lebanese government has so far rejected the Al-Qaeda affiliate`s terms.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has urged the government not to cave in to the Sunni extremists` demands but has denied impeding efforts to free the captive troops.

Last month`s fighting in the border town of Arsal -- a Sunni enclave within the mainly Shiite Hezbollah-dominated Bekaa Valley border region -- was the most serious in Lebanon since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011.