On August 12, three Syrian pro-government fighters were freed in the framework of a prisoner exchange deal between Syrian authorities and al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The two sides exchanged the prisoners in the town of Maaret Elnaasan in the eastern Idlib countryside. The exchange was supervised by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
According opposition sources, Syrian authorities released six women. The authorities also handed over the daughter of one of the released women.
In return, HTS released Cpt. Saeed Mohammed Ahmed of the Syrian Arab Army, who was captured in action more than four years ago. Two pro-government fighters, Abbas Kamal Dirani and Muhammad Yahya Sharraq, were also released.
Syrian authorities exchanged prisoners with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and a number of al-Qaeda-linked factions in Greater Idlib in May. A prisoner exchange deal with Turkish-backed militants was also arranged in July.
More prisoners exchange deals will likely take place soon. Both sides apparently see the ceasefire in Greater Idlib as an opportunity to free their captives.