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Prisoner swap: 2,130 Syrians for 48 Iranian 'pilgrims'

 
 
 
 
 
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Video released by Al-Baraa Brigade shows an unidentified Syrian rebel standing in front of 30 hostages who the brigade said are Iranian prisoners at an unidentified location in Syria.

Syrian rebels have released 48 Iranian hostages held captive since last August as part of a prisoner swap in Damascus, according to Iranian state TV. In return for the hostages Syria will release 2,130 rebel prisoners.

The Syrian government has yet to confirm the release of the Iranian hostages.

Rebels claim the hostages were carrying out covert operations for the Syrian government, while Iran maintains they are retired members of the armed forces who were on a pilgrimage south-east of Damascus.

The Free Syria Army, who captured the group of ‘pilgrims’ back in August, claimed they had evidence that the hostages belonged to the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards and had come to Syria to “serve the regime”.

Turkish aid organization, Humanitarian Relief Foundation (HRF) reported on the prison exchange on Wednesday morning and said the Assad government was preparing to release 2,130 ‘civilians’.

“Most of the prisoners to be swapped are Syrian citizens in exchange for Iranians, and there are a few Turks as well,” IHH member Osman Atalay told Reuters. The non-profit group has previously been involved in the release of Turkish and Syrian citizens in Syria.

Turkish state news said that the hostage handover deal was brokered by Turkey and Qatar.

Iran has previously stated that it has not sent any military enforcements into Syria and that President Assad has not requested military aid from them.

“This is the result of months of civil diplomacy carried out by our organization,” said IHH spokesperson Serkan Nergis.

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  • hussein bin ali

    yes they look very retired shame on you till now 60000 innocent civilian have been kiiled by the asad death squads, cities have been blown up from the sky with barrel filled with tnt and all wiith the help of russia and iran. This revolution was was peaceful for the its first year before the regime forced it to turn bloody by targetting innocent protestors with sinpers random arrest at torture the evidance is all there. every syrian knows who’s behind the killings the bombings the disappearance of innocent civilians. shame on you for telling a lie that will prolong the life line of this brutal regime that all i have to say to people like you.

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