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Ahrar a-Sham, regime carry out prisoner exchange

Three civilian detainees held in regime prisons for more than […]

4 June 2015

Three civilian detainees held in regime prisons for more than a year walked free on Wednesday in a prisoner exchange overseen by the Red Crescent in Aleppo’s Bustan al-Qasr district, pro-opposition Eldorar reported.

The deal between regime forces and Ahrar a-Sham saw rebels release five Syrian army soldiers and two corpses in exchange for the three civilians.

“The regime handed over three individuals from a single family, a husband and wife and her cousin, who were arrested a year and a half ago,” Yassin Abu Raed, an Aleppo-based correspondent for pro-opposition news outlet Syria Mubasher told Syria Direct on Thursday.

“In exchange, Ahrar a-Sham turned over four Sunni [soldiers] and an Alawite captain, in addition to two bodies whose identities were not disclosed.”

Images published by the local Nour Media Center on Wednesday show the swap, as rebels release regime soldiers and the family emerges into an Aleppo afternoon, flanked by Red Crescent workers.

The three family members embrace and smile wearily after their release before civilians, journalists and members of Ahrar a-Sham in a Nour video.

“Tell us your feelings upon being released from the regime prisons,” the camera operator asks a gaunt middle-aged man.

“I’m very happy,” he says to the camera with obvious relief.

Official media made no mention of the exchange, which took place near the al-Hajez garage border crossing in Bustan al-Qasr, also known as the “Checkpoint of Death” due to the proliferation of snipers in the rebel-held district that divides Syria’s largest city between regime-controlled and rebel neighborhoods.

-Photo courtesy of Nour Media Center.

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