Aoun Meets Relatives of Servicemen Abducted by IS

President Michel Aoun met on Thursday with relatives of the servicemen kidnapped by the Islamic State extremist group, the National News Agency reported.

The meeting was held in the presence of General Security chief Maj. Gen.Abbas Ibrahim, NNA added.

Aoun assured that he will raise the issue with Arab leaders during his upcoming tour to Arab countries, he said: “I will carry the cause of kidnapped servicemen with me during my visit abroad.

“We will continue our endeavors until the fate of the servicemen is clarified. We will spare no effort in that regard,” added Aoun addressing the relatives.

For his part, Ibrahim said the President is following up on the file “on a daily basis.”

He also briefed the President on the underway negotiations process to release the abductees, saying “the current mediator is the 13th negotiator in this case and is trying to discover the fate of the servicemen.”

The IS group and al-Nusra Front, which re-branded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in July when it split from the al-Qaida movement, abducted over 30 servicemen in clashes with the Lebanese army in the northeastern border town of Arsal in August 2014.

Sixteen held by the Jabhat Fateh al-Islam were freed in December last year through a Qatari-mediated deal that also included a prisoner swap to release a number of inmates from Lebanese jails.

The two groups had previously executed four of the hostages.

Nine hostages are still being held by the IS and their families do not know much about their fate.

Early this week, Ibrahim assured that some serious efforts were being exerted through a Lebanese mediator for the release of the servicemen.

He also assured that endeavors to release them will continue.