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Lebanon: New Agent to Mediate Negotiations with ISIS on Kidnapped Soldiers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Army soldiers are seen on armoured carriers after being deployed inside the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley August 9, 2014. Islamist militants holding 19 Lebanese soldiers seized during an incursion into Lebanon said on Friday they had demanded the release of Islamist prisoners in exchange for letting their captives go. Two commanders close to the group holding the soldiers, speaking by telephone, said the demands had been sent to the Lebanese government and army, which retook the border town of Arsal on Thursday after five days of fighting. REUTERS/Ahmad Shalha (LEBANON – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)

Beirut – General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim announced that a new mediator will be involved in the case of the nine Lebanese soldiers abducted by ISIS in August 2014.

One of the soldiers’ fathers revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the new agent was assigned to mediate in the case a month ago, but nothing new was uncovered until this moment.

Maj-Gen Ibrahim hoped the new year would bring an end to the case of the 2014 abducted Lebanese soldiers, announcing that a new mediator was involved.

“We are determined to end this case. We will not neglect it until it is resolved,” Ibrahim declared.

He added that a new “serious” Lebanese mediator has been working on the case.

Ibrahim concluded by saying: “The risk is always present and the challenges do exist, but we shall continue with our relentless work and strong will and determination to protect the Lebanese and safeguard our homeland.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Houssein Youssef, father of the kidnapped soldier Mohammed Youssef, said that the new mediator seems to be more serious and effective than previous attempts.

He confirmed there are ongoing meetings between the families of the kidnapped soldiers and Maj-Gen Ibrahim who is being discreet on many issues, in order for his mission to succeed.

Hussein also said that he went to the Baabda Palace, along with Nizam Mogheet brother of Ibrahim Mogheet, and met with President Michel Aoun.

The recent developments come after DNA tests for the bodies found didn’t match with that of the families of the soldiers kidnapped by ISIS.

Earlier, 13 bodies were uncovered in a cave near the Lebanese-Syrian border and were dressed in blue or orange clothing and showed telltale signs of having been killed by ISIS.

Families of the soldiers are hoping for a an ending as happy like that of the 16 soldiers who were kidnapped by Nusra Front in Arsal in August 2014.

Negotiations took place in order to free the soldiers and policemen, some were executed, and it wasn’t until December 2015, that Nusra released 16 Internal Security Forces personnel and Army soldiers as part of a prisoner exchange.

However, nine soldiers held by ISIS remain in captivity, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Three of them appeared in a video while they were on their knees as a French-speaking militant was threatening to slaughter them.

News information surfaced after Lebanese security forces captured an ISIS militant who pointed out that he personally killed Abbas Medlij and informed the authorities about the soldiers being tortured and forced into hard labor.