Lebanon 'came within inch' of releasing kidnapped Turkish pilots
BEIRUT - Anadolu Agency
Members of the Internal security forces sit outside the Turkish Airlines offices in downtonw Beirut on August 12, 2013. Turkey has closed its cultural centre and commercial office in Beirut after the kidnap of two Turkish Airlines pilots, Ankara's ambassador to Lebanon told AFP. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EIDLebanon’s interior minister said Aug. 27 that security officials had got very close to rescuing the two abducted Turkish pilots in Lebanon, but failed when the kidnappers changed their location.
"The location of the Turkish pilots was identified, we were about to save them but the kidnappers spotted security forces and moved the pilots away,” Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said.
Charbel added that Lebanese security officials were doing “as much as they could” to find and rescue the two Turkish pilots kidnapped on Aug. 9 in the capital Beirut. He also said they had heard that the pilots’ health conditions were good.
The pilots, Murat Akpınar and Murat Ağca, were kidnapped by a group demanding that Turkey use its influence with Syria’s rebels, who it backs, to secure the release of the nine Lebanese Shiites kidnapped in Syria.