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Charbel: Qatar Tasked Security Official to Follow up on Case of Abducted Pilgrims

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim completed on Thursday a visit to Qatar where they held talks on the case of nine abducted Lebanese pilgrims held in Syria.

Charbel announced at the end of the talks that Qatar appointed a security official to follow up on the issue with Ibrahim's supervision.

The two officials concluded their two-day visit with talks with Qatari Prime Minister Shiekh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani.

Charbel said that Qatar had expressed an interest in the case of the pilgrims, revealing that Ibrahim will head to Doha again next week in order to follow up on the issue.

Later on Thursday Charbel met with a delegation of the families of the abducted pilgrims in Syria and updated them on the case after the talks he held in Qatar.

"Minister Charbel is optimistic about the outcome of this case,” Adham Zgheib, son of one of the abducted men said, thanking the IM and Ibrahim for their efforts to release the kidnapped.

Eleven Lebanese pilgrims were kidnapped in Syria's Aleppo region in May as they were making their way back to Lebanon by land from pilgrimage in Iran.

Two of the captives were released last year, while the rest remain held in Syria's Aazaz region.

The families of the pilgrims had held numerous sit-ins and demonstrations to protest the government's “negligence” in ensuring their release, holding Charbel, Turkey, and Qatar responsible for the ongoing abduction.

The Free Syrian Army, which had denied any links to the kidnapping, announced on Wednesday that it will head to Aazaz on Thursday in order to address the issue.


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