More facts have been revealed regarding the Lebanese abductees and the exchange agreement with the North Storm Brigade.
The rebel group said in a statement issued today that the ongoing clashes with al-Qaeda affiliate “The State of Iraq and al-Sham” (ISIS) was behind its hurry to deliver the Lebanese pilgrims to the Turkish authorities because it feared the hostages would be taken by ISIS.
The agreement called for the release of 200 Syrian women jailed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, according to sources close to the Turkish and Qatari mediation teams who facilitated the deal.
The North Storm Brigade confirmed that no detainees had been received by the Turkish authorities from the Assad regime, as had been agreed with the mediators.
The statement, addressing Syrian Muslims in particular and the Islamic world in general, emphasized the negative impact of the al-Qaeda-linked ISIS, which recently captured the North Storm Brigade’s strongholds in the border town of Azaz near Turkey.
Al-Watan, a pro-Assad newspaper based in Damascus, reported today that ''the Syrian regime will not release any detainees, the opposition knows that.'' It appears it could be another ruse by Assad, which he did before with Iranian hostages in the Ghouta area near Damascus.
In the last 72 hours nine Lebanese pilgrims that had been held hostage in Syria for 17 months arrived in Beirut after being freed in exchange for two Turkish Airlines pilots seized in Lebanon in August.
The Shia pilgrims were greeted by cabinet ministers and other senior officials from across the political spectrum in Lebanon on Saturday night, as relatives broke out into tears and cries of joy upon their return.
The Shia pilgrims were snatched in northern Syria by the North Storm Brigade rebel group as they headed home.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer