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Lebanese and Turkish hostages freed

Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 01:27

Oct. 19 - After months of uncertainty, Lebanese and Turkish hostages are freed as part of a deal negotiated by Qatari mediators. Gavino Garay reports.

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A Qatari plane carrying nine Lebanese hostages freed from Syria lands in Beirut, almost a year and a half Syrian rebels captured the men near the Turkish border. Relatives and friends cry shouts of joy as they greet the men at the airport. One man reacts to his initial moments back home: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED FREED LEBANESE HOSTAGE SAYING: "(Thank) God up there that He brought us back to our country safe and with victory, to meet our dear ones and parents, despite all the tragedy and obstacles that we went through." Qatari officials brokered the release of the men in a deal that simultaneously freed two Turkish pilots who were taken in a retaliatory kidnapping. Another Qatar Airways jet lands in Istanbul -- this time coming from Lebanon -- carrying those pilots. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greeted those pilots on the tarmac. One of the pilots talks about his time in captivity: (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PILOT, MURAT AKPINAR, SAYING: "We were not treated badly, I can say that clearly. We were never treated brutally. We were not exposed to verbal or physical violence. If that had been the case you can be sure that we would not have arrived here." The pilots were kidnapped by the family of one of the Lebanese hostages -- a move aimed at pressing the Turkish government to help secure the group's release.

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Lebanese and Turkish hostages freed

Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 01:27