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AUGUST 2020

Syrian Authorities, Turkish-Backed Militants Exchange Prisoners In Northern Aleppo (Photos)

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On July 12, Syrian authorities and the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA) exchanged prisoners near the Turkish-occupied town of Azaz in northern Aleppo.

According to opposition sources, Syrian authorities released “Shaaban Ottoman,” a militant who was captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Afrin four years ago. The SDF handed Ottoman over to the authorities upon withdrawing from Afrin in 2018.

In exchange for Ottoman, the SNA released an unidentified individual. Several sources claimed that the individual is a soldier of the Syrian Arab Army. Others, however, claimed that a spy of the Syrian intelligence was released.

In May, Syrian authorities exchanged prisoners with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and a number of al-Qaeda-linked factions in Greater Idlib.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent oversees such prisoner exchange deals, which appear to be sponsored by Russia and Turkey. More prisoner exchange deals will likely take place in the upcoming few months.

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