Qatar appreciates Turkey’s role in release of Lebanese pilgrims
Qatari Ambassador Salem Mubarak al-Shafi (L) and EU Minister Egemen Bağış are seen in this photo during a meeting Oct 23. AA photoQatari Ambassador Salem Mubarak al-Shafi Oct. 23 acknowledged Turkey’s role in the release of Lebanese pilgrims abducted in Syria.
The ambassador’s acknowledgement came during a meeting with EU Minister Egemen Bağış, when the latter expressed gratitude for Qatar due to its support in release of the two kidnapped Turkish pilots in Lebanon.
“Between Qatar and Turkey, everybody had a role,” al-Shafi was quoted as saying by the Anadolu Agency when he was asked to elaborate on the roles of Turkey and Qatar in release of the two Turkish Airlines pilots who were seized in Lebanon in August.
“If Qatar had a role, this was a humanitarian duty, more than anything else. Turkey also made a great contribution on the issue of the release of the Lebanese hostages,” al-Shafi added. He was referring to the group of Lebanese pilgrims held hostage for 17 months who arrived in Beirut over the weekend, after being freed in an exchange that also saw the release of the Turkish pilots.
However, so far, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied any link between the rescue of the Lebanese hostages and the release of the pilots.
Turkish special agents launched a covert operation in Syria to rescue the pilgrims, pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah reported earlier this week. However, there has been no official confirmation of the operation in Syria either.