A prisoner swap deal was successfully completed on Tuesday, between the Syrian Al Qaeda-affiliate Nusra Front and Lebanese authorities.
The long sought for deal was completed with Qatari mediation, and will secure the release of 16 Lebanese security personnel held captive by Nusra Front since 2014, Hezbollah's Al Manar TV reported. Nusra had killed four of the captives.
The deal will also secure the release of 13 prisoners held in Lebanese jails, including Saja al Dulaimi, an ex-wife of DAESH leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, security sources told Reuters. Dulaimi, fully veiled, was shown in live TV footage from the area with her three children who were with her in prison.
Her sons were warmly welcomed by Nusra fighters as shown in the TV feed. Dulaimi told Al Jazeera she wishes to go back to Beirut so she can go to Turkey from there.
Nusra Front seized the Lebanese soldiers during the battles in the border town of Arsal. It is believed that DAESH also captured a number of Lebanese soldiers as well.
The Lebanese government said it is ready to negotiate DAESH to secure the release of nine Lebanese soldiers held captive by the terrorist group since August 2014, the head of a Lebanese security agency told Reuters on Tuesday.
Lebanese Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of general security, said that joy at the release of 16 soldiers and policemen by Nusra is incomplete because the nine captives remained at DAESH’s hands.
"We are ready to start a negotiation process with DAESH over the nine soldiers if we find someone to negotiate with," Ibrahim told Reuters by telephone.
Live TV footage showed masked and armed Nusra front fighters waving the group’s flag, accompanying hostages and handing them over to the Red Cross.
"We accomplished the entire agreement with Nusra. We received our heroic soldiers and we are on our way back to Beirut," top Lebanese security official Abbas Ibrahim, who oversaw the swap, told Reuters by telephone.