Oct. 19 - Nine Lebanese hostages held captive by Syrian rebels for over a year are freed, raising hopes for the release of two Turkish pilots held by the nine Lebanese relatives. Mana Rabiee reports.
In this suburb of Beirut, families of nine Lebanese held hostage by Syrian rebels since May of 2012 await their return. News of their release came Friday. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WIFE OF THE LEBANESE HOSTAGE ALI TERMOSS, MONA TERMOSS, SAYING: "Our happiness is surely great, we can't express how happy we are, we are so happy and thank God." The nine Shiites were seized last year while returning from a pilgrimage in Iran. Their Sunni rebel kidnappers accused them of belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has fought against the rebels in Syria's civil war. The Qatari government reportedly helped mediate the release. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) Brother of the Lebanese hostage Abbas Chouaib, Daniel Chouaib, Saying: "I haven't seen them being officially received. I will only be happy once Turkey says in an official statement that they have been received." Their return will raise hopes for the release of THESE men. Two Turkish pilots…held captive since August by families of the nine Lebanese. (SOUNDBITE) (English) Turkish kidnapped co-pilot, Murat Agca, saying (Soundbite Continues In Arabic Dialect): "I am safe and sound. I miss my family, my children and my country. " (SOUNDBITE) (English) Turkish kidnapped pilot, Murat Akpinar, saying: "I would like to be at my home. I am fine." The Lebanese families accused Turkey of doing too little to win the release of their loved ones in neighboring Syria. Now, a Lebanese security source says a member of the family holding the pilots believes the two men are in good condition, and will likely be released soon.