You are here

Qatar halts mediation to free captive Lebanese soldiers

By Reuters - Dec 08,2014 - Last updated at Dec 08,2014

DUBAI — Qatar has halted its bid to broker the release of Lebanese soldiers and policemen captured by Islamist militants during a raid on a Lebanese border town in August, saying its efforts had failed after one of the captives was killed.

Militants affiliated with Al Nusra Front and Al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State took captive more than two dozen members of the Lebanese security forces during the August incursion.

Al Nusra Front said on Friday it had killed one of them in retaliation for the arrest by Lebanese authorities of women identified as wives of Islamist militants.

Qatar had previously helped mediate the release of hostages held by Al Nusra, Al Qaeda's official affiliate in the Syrian war.

"The [Qatari] foreign ministry announced that it was no longer possible for Qatar to continue its efforts to free the Lebanese military personnel who were kidnapped in August from the environs of the town of Arsal," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Sunday.

The ministry said its decision was based on the failure to secure the captives' release. It also expressed regret over the latest death — the fourth of the captives killed since August.

The SITE intelligence monitoring centre said in November that Al Nusra Front had proposed to a Qatari negotiator freeing the Lebanese captives in return for the release of Islamist prisoners held in Syria and Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities said last week they had detained a wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and the wife of an Al Nusra front leader.

Lebanese media have reported that the women were viewed by some Lebanese officials as a possible bargaining chip with the militants to gain the release of the captive soldiers.

89 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.