BEIRUT — Lebanon's interior minister says nine pilgrims kidnapped in Syria are now returning to Beirut.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Saturday that the nine Shiite pilgrims should arrive at the international airport in Lebanon's capital within the coming hours. They were kidnapped in May 2012.
The men were held by Syrian rebels who sought the release of imprisoned women held by security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
Complicating the situation further, angry Lebanese kidnapped two Turkish pilots in Beirut in August. They hoped to pressure Turkey to help release the pilgrims.
Turkey is believed to have close relations to some Syrian rebel groups. All three groups of captives are meant to be released in coming days as part of a negotiated deal.