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Will Lebanon swap prisoners with IS, Jabhat al-Nusra?

The families of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers have been calling on the government to agree to a prisoner exchange to secure their relatives’ release, but a number of obstacles stand in the way.
Relatives of Lebanese soldiers and policemen, who were captured by Islamist militants in Arsal, erect a tent and hold a banner depicting Lebanese soldier Ali al-Sayyed, who was beheaded by IS militants, during an open-ended sit-in demanding for the release of the remaining soldiers and pressuring the government to act in Martyrs' Square in downtown Beirut September 10, 2014. Islamic State militants have beheaded a captive Lebanese soldier, images published on social media showed on Saturday, the second Leba
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Lebanon is facing difficult times amid the protracted crisis that began on Aug. 2, when militants from the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra kidnapped a number of Lebanese soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces. Since then, the two organizations have threatened to kill the men if the Lebanese government fails to meet their demands, most notably the release of Sunni Islamist prisoners detained by the Lebanese government in a number of criminal cases. They have already executed three of their hostages, IS beheading two and Jabhat al-Nusra shooting the third.

Exacerbating the situation is the extremist group's ability to play the strings of internal Lebanese sectarianism. This has prompted the families of the kidnapped military personnel, particularly those from the Sunni and Druze sects, to hold sit-ins to block traffic. They are demanding that the government accept the so-called barter principle and release detained Sunni terrorist suspects in exchange for their relatives being held hostage.

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