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Will Bishops Be Included in Deal To Release Lebanese Detainees?

New information suggests that a deal is near to secure the release of nine Lebanese citizens detained in Syria in March, but questions remain about two kidnapped bishops' fate.
Newly released Abdulbasit Aslan (R), a Turkish national abducted by a Lebanese Shi'ite in Beirut, shakes hands with Abbas Ibrahim, head of the Lebanese General Security, as Turkish ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildiz (C) looks on, at the Lebanese General Security headquarters in Beirut September 13, 2012.  REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir        (LEBANON - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR37XTM

A Lebanese minister confirmed to Al-Monitor that he has completely freed up his schedule for the next few days, and will keep his mobile phone at his side until the end of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which lasts from Oct. 15-17. He said he is waiting for a call from a Lebanese security official, who will tell him to take a plane to somewhere in Syria or Turkey to meet the Lebanese citizens who were kidnapped in Azaz and escort them back to Lebanon. Are his calculations true? What about the two bishops who were kidnapped [in Syria] as well? All indicators in Beirut point to the fact that the mediation carried out by the general director of Lebanese General Security, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, to free the kidnapped citizens has succeeded, or is nearing success. 

Ibrahim had launched a highly professional negotiation process for this purpose. These negotiations involved multiple parties and trips to a variety of capitals. He undertook a series of shuttle visits between Doha, Ankara, Damascus and even Berlin — amid complete secrecy regarding the details of his movements — which appears to have resulted in a fundamental breakthrough in the case of the kidnapped Lebanese citizens. 

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