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Syrian Authorities, Turkish-Backed Militants Free Captives Under New Swap Deal (Photos)

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Syrian Authorities, Turkish-Backed Militants Free Captives Under New Swap Deal (Photos)

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On July 2, Syrian authorities and Turkish-backed militants swapped prisoners under a deal that was brokered by Russia and Turkey.

The prisoners swap took place on the Abu al-Zandin crossing which links Turkish-occupied areas with areas held by Syrian government forces in the northern Aleppo countryside. The United Nations and the Red Crescent oversaw the deal.

Turkish-backed militants released five service members of the Syrian Arab Army who were captured on different occasions. The freed captives were identified as Wassef Hamdan, Mortada Mahfouz, Milad Ashour, Hani al-Youssef and Ammar al-Abdullah.

From its side, Syrian authorities released five captives who were identified by opposition sources as Ibrahim al-Hussein, Ibrahim al-Tayeb, Ibrahim Askar, Muhammad al-Kurdi and Abdul Latif Haj Abban.

In the last three years, Syrian authorities swapped prisoners with Turkish-backed militants in the northern countryside of Aleppo and al-Qaeda factions in the region of Greater Idlib on several occasions. All the deals were brokered in the framework of the Astana Peace Talks.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are currently preparing to hold a new round of talks on Syria in the Kazakhstani capital. According to recent reports, the round will likely be held between December 20 and 22.

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