Syrian rebels and regime take part in prisoner swap

Syrian rebels and regime take part in rare but limited prisoner swap
2 min read
13 February, 2019
Syrian regime and rebels have taken part in a prisoner swap.
Syria's prisoner swap took place in al-Bab [Getty-file photo]
Syria's regime and rebels took part in a rare prisoner swap on Tuesday, as part of a peace process led by Turkey, Russia and Iran.

The limited exchange included 42 people prisoners and took place close to the opposition town of al-Bab, in northern Syria, according to Turkish state media.

Bashar al-Assad's regime released 22 captives, which included women and children, while the rebels returned 20 male prisoners.

"Many people who had been detained by rebel groups and by the Syrian regime have been freed" Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 11 women were among those freed by the Syrian regime.

The Astana peace process are a set of negotiations by three of the main foreign actors in Syria's war, Iran and Russia - which support the Syrian regime and Turkey - which backs rebel groups.

The peace plan is independent of UN efforts to end the war, which has cost at least 500,000 lives - mostly civilians killed in regime bombing and shelling.

An initial prisoner by the tripartite peace process partners took place in November. Other prisoner swaps have taken place between the two sides, who have been at war since 2011.

Although dozens of prisoners have been exchanged during the war, the regime has still detained hundreds of thousands of Syrians in prisons, where torture and state killings are routine.

Agencies contributed to this story.