Free Syrian Army spokesperson Louay Almokdad announced on Wednesday that his army will stop efforts to free the nine remaining Lebanese pilgrims detained in Syria.
“Following the army leaders meeting, we have decided to stop mediating to release the nine remaining Lebanese pilgrims detained in Syria and we have informed [Future Movement leader] Saad Hariri and [Future MP] Okab Sakr of this decision,” Mokdad said in an interview to Future television.
“We cannot keep mediating to free the detainees especially that there is a partner who keeps disrupting every time we get close to a solution,” Mokdad added.
The FSA spokesperson also said that “Hariri and Sakr insisted on continuing the negotiations to release the detainees.”
In May, 11 Shiite pilgrims were abducted in Syria’s Aleppo while returning from a pilgrimage in Iran.
Later in the month, a previously unknown armed group calling itself the "Syrian Revolutionaries—Aleppo Province" said that it was holding the group, while the Free Syrian Army had repeatedly denied its involvement in the abduction.
Two of the kidnapped pilgrims – Awad Ibrahim and Hussein Ali Omar – were released in past months.