Turkish pilots arrive home after kidnapping

Associated Press
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Relatives of nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who were kidnapped by a rebel faction in northern Syria in May 2012, flash victory signs as they celebrate news of their relatives release, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Nine Shiite pilgrims from Lebanon kidnapped in Syria were freed late Friday night as part of a negotiated hostage deal that could see two Turkish pilots held by Lebanese militants released, officials said. The complicated three-way deal also potentially includes the release of female prisoners now held by the embattled government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Two Turkish Airlines pilots held hostage in Lebanon by militants since August have returned home.

Turkish television channels showed live images Saturday night of pilots Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca arriving at an airport in Istanbul. They arrived on a Qatar Executive private jet.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials greeted the pilots on the tarmac.

The two were freed as part of a deal that saw nine Shiite pilgrims from Lebanon freed from captivity in Syria.

It's unclear if the third part of the deal has been executed, which calls for the release several dozen women held in Syrian government jails. That was a key demand of Syrian rebels who were holding the Lebanese pilgrims.