Lebanese kidnapped in Syria back in Beirut: agency

AFP , Wednesday 26 Sep 2012

Shiite pilgrim from Lebanon abducted in Syria in May by accused members of the Free Syrian Army, has returned to Lebanon following his release

Awad Ibrahim
Released hostage Awad Ibrahim (C), one of 10 Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims abducted in Syria, is welcomed by his relatives upon his arrival at Beirut international airport (Photo: Reuters)

A Lebanese Shiite pilgrim who was abducted in Syria in May arrived back in Beirut on Wednesday, state media reported.

The National News Agency identified him as Awad Ibrahim and said he flew in to "Rafiq Hariri International Airport in Beirut, accompanied by two officers."

Ibrahim was set free a month after another Lebanese hostage, Hussein Ali Omar, arrived in Turkey from Syria.

Eleven Lebanese Shiite pilgrims were kidnapped on 22 May in the northern province of Aleppo, while returning from Iran.

The abductions were claimed by a group whose leader identified himself as Abu Ibrahim. The group claims affiliation with the rebel Free Syrian Army, which denies any such link.

Activists say the climate of chaos that has gripped Syria for the past 18 months has enabled all sides of the conflict to profit from the situation, whether their goals are political or merely financial.

"Abu Ibrahim is not a fighter, he is a criminal using the revolt to make money," an Aleppo province resident calling himself Abu Mohammed told AFP via Skype.

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