Lebanese pilgrims abducted in Syria to be ‘freed soon’

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour has said that the 13 Lebanese Shia pilgrims abducted in Syria have been located and that they would be freed soon.

Mansour said on Wednesday that he was informed about the whereabouts of the abductees and that negotiations are being conducted with the captors.

“Our information is that, God willing, the Lebanese will be released very soon. We can’t say who is conducting the negotiations, but the matter is ongoing and, God willing, we’re going to reach a positive result,” Lebanese foreign minister said adding that the pilgrims were being held by “a splinter group of the armed Syrian opposition”.

Reports suggest the pilgrims were kidnapped by the terrorist Free Syrian Army, hoping to trade the captives for its own members being held in Syrian government custody.

The abduction sparked protests in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The Lebanese were on their way back home from a pilgrimage in Iran when armed men intercepted their vehicle in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Tuesday. The women were allowed to go free and they arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday.

“After crossing the border between Turkey and Syria, we saw a white car pull up with men armed with Kalashnikovs inside. They told us they wanted to protect us from Syrian shelling. Then they handcuffed the men and lined them up against a wall,” said one of the female pilgrims.

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