Lebanon, Oct 20: A day after being released, nine Lebanese Shia pilgrims who were kidnapped by rebels in Syria in May 2012, have returned to Beirut, BBC reported Sunday.
The Lebanese group were released by their captors Friday evening and driven to Istanbul, from where they flew to Beirut. There were jubilant scenes as they arrived at the international airport. They were greeted by friends and family, as well as politicians and religious leaders.
Two Turkish pilots who were being held hostage in Lebanon were also released as part of the agreement, which was negotiated by Qatar. The duo — Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca — were seized in Beirut in August in a retaliatory abduction.
They arrived in Istanbul on a Qatari jet Saturday evening.
A third part of the complex hostage negotiations involved the release of a number of female prisoners being held by the Syrian government. It is not yet clear whether that has taken place.