Syrian authorities and Turkish-backed militants swapped prisoners on July 31 at the Abu al-Zandin crossing in northern Aleppo, as part of a peace process brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey.
According to several Syrian sources, the militants released fourteen captives while the Damascus government released fifteen detainees from its prisons.
“As the fourth project of the Working Group on the Release of Detainees/Abductees, Handover of Bodies and Identification of Missing Persons which was established within the framework of the Astana process with the participation of Turkey, the Russian Federation and Iran as well as the United Nations, several persons detained by the opposition groups and the regime were mutually and simultaneously released on 31 July 2019,” Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement commenting on the prisoners swap.
The Working Group was established by Turkey, Russia and Iran as well as the U.N. within the framework of the Astana process. The group’s efforts freed dozens of people, including women and children, over the last year.
This prisoner swap comes ahead of Astana 13th round, where the issue of detainees and missing people is expected to be discussed in details.