Turkey, Qatar negotiating with ISIL for Lebanese hostages
This undated image posted on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group shows a fighter from the Islamic State group, armed with a knife and an automatic weapon, next to captured Syrian army soldiers and officers, following the battle for the Tabqa air base, in Raqqa, Syria. AP Photo
The governments of Turkey and Qatar have been involved in negotiations with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to free the Lebanese security personnel taken hostage by the militant group, Lebanon’s al-Akhbar reported Aug. 28.
Al-Akhbar reported that Sheikh Salem Rafii, former Head of the Muslim Scholars Committee, urged Abu Talal al-Hamad, ISIL’s commander in Qalamoun, to extend the deadline by another three days, allowing a chance at Qatari-Turkish mediation and allowing the negotiators time to arrive.
Citing sources in the committee, the newspaper wrote that the Lebanese government was assured ISIL would not kill any of the captives it held.
On Aug. 23, Lebanon’s as-Safir newspaper reported that the Lebanese security personnel were held by al-Nusra Front. The nine men, apparently eight policemen and a soldier, are among 24 security forces still in the hands of the jihadists after fighting broke out on the Syrian border earlier this month.
The number of Lebanese citizens held hostage by ISIL has not been confirmed.
On June 10, 49 Turkish citizens including Turkey’s Consul-General Öztürk Yılmaz became hostages when the Turkish Consulate in Mosul was stormed by militants from ISIL, which now calls itself the Islamic State (IS).