BBC news 2013-10-20

Nine Lebanese citizens who were abducted by rebels in Syria last year have arrived back in Beirut after being freed. Their release is part of a complex swap involving the freeing of two Turkish pilots who were kidnapped in Lebanon in August in apparent retaliation. The pilots returned to Istanbul tonight and were welcomed by the Prime Minister. Jim Muir reports from Beirut.

There were scene joyful chaos at Beirut airport as the nine hostages arrived to be reunited with family members and friends whose hopes has been raised and dashed by many forces of alarms over the past seventeen months. This was the culmination of a long and extremely complicated settle mediation efforts in which Qatar, Turkey and Palestinian authority all played a part. After being taken overland into Turkey from northern Syria, the freed hostages were flown to Beirut by a Qatari jet while another was flying the two kidnapped Turkish pilots who from Beirut in the opposite direction.

The United Nations has called for a ceasefire in a suburb of Syrian capital Damascus to allow food and medical supplies to be delivered. The UN said that although thousands of people were evacuated last week from the suburb of Moadamiyah, thousands more were still trapped. Here's Nick Bryant.

It's been months since they've received any form of an outside aid, not even bread and flower has been allowed in frozen 90 days, and local doctors have expressed grave concerns about the malnourishment of children especially those under the age of two. There has been reports of people have been forced to eat dog meat. The UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said she was extremely worried about the situation unfolding there and across Syria, and stressed civilians must be allowed to move to safer areas without fear of attack.

Arab states have called on Saudi Arabia to take up its places on the United Nations Security Council a day after the kingdom announced it was rejecting the non-permanent seat. Saudi Arabia had accused the world body of double standards and expressed disappointment at its failure to act in Syria.