Two Turkish pilots freed in Lebanon, state news agency says

ISTANBUL Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:26pm EDT

ISTANBUL Oct 19 (Reuters) - Two Turkish Airlines pilots who were kidnapped in August in Lebanon were turned over to Lebanese security officials on Saturday and were expected to fly home later, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Pilots Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca were abducted two months ago by relatives of one of 11 Lebanese hostages taken in May 2012 by opposition fighters in Syria. Two of those hostages were released previously, and the remaining nine were freed on Saturday, paving the way for the Turkish pilots' release.

Turkey is seen as wielding considerable influence over rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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