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Lebanon and Nusra 'hostage exchange' reaches final steps

Families of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers commemorate the first anniversary since their absence [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 5 August, 2015

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Discussions with al-Nusra Front concerning the release of 16 kidnapped Lebanese soldiers have reached a conclusion, the head of Lebanon's Directorate of General Security has said.
Talks surrounding the release of 16 Lebanese soldiers, who were kidnapped by the al-Nusra Front last year, have ended, a Lebanese official said.

"Negotiations between al-Nusra Front and our Qatari brothers [mediating the situation] concerning the abducted soldiers has come to an end" the head of Lebanon's Directorate of General Security, Abbas Ibrahim said.

"What we now need are clarifications to proceed further with the exchange" he added.
Ibrahim told the Lebanese General Security magazine that "the procedure for the exchange, including the details surrounding the time and location, as well as the technical issues, have been determined."

Sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed that the two sides have agreed to release five women detained by the Lebanese security forces for their connection to al-Nusra and [Islamic State group] in exchange for the release of the 16 kidnapped soldiers. In addition to this, some regional states will pay $30 million to aid the release.

The soldier's families commemorated the first anniversary of the kidnapping of their relatives, who were taken hostage during a battle in the Lebanese town of Arsal, on Lebanon's eastern border with Syria last August.

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