Massive prisoner exchange continues in Damascus
[Hurriyet Daily News] A massive prisoner exchange is underway between Syrian officials and Syrian rebels in several cities across the crisis-hit nation, including Damascus,
...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world...
Latakia, Homs, Idlib and Aleppo.
Some 2,130 Syrian civilians will be released by Damascus in exchange for the return of 48 Iranians currently held by Syrian rebels. Among the 2,130 civilians held captive by the Syrian regime there are at least four Turkish citizens, head of the Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO) Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) Bülent Yıldırım told the Hürriyet Daily News. Yıldırım is overseeing the exchange in Damascus.
The release of captives is being conducted in a building of the Syrian Interior Ministry with a senior Syrian general directing the process, Yıldırım said. While it is known that there are at least four Turkish citizens among the captives the number could increase, according to Yıldırım.
The swap is being directed with mediation from Turkey, Qatar and Iran, Yıldırım said.
Freed civilians are being given travel expenses to assist them in leaving the cities where they were being locked away.
Please don't kill me!
Prisoners will be freed in Latakia, Homs, Idlib and Aleppo. Eight Turkish citizens led by Yıldırım are managing the process in Damascus at the moment. It is expected that the exchange process will continue until evening, the press consultant for İHH, Serkan Nergis, told the Daily News.
The exchange will take a few hours today as the group is very large and registration procedures take a long time to complete, Yıldırım said.
"We have not yet been able to receive any clear information on the Paleostinian journalist Bashar al-Qaddumi. We are trying to determine the whereabouts of Qaddumi. As the İHH, we call on all Syrians and the entire world to get in touch with us if they have any information on Qaddumi," Yıldırım was quoted as saying by Turkey's Anatolia news agency.
Posted by: Fred