Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and several rebel factions exchanged prisoners in the southern countryside of Aleppo.

In total, 25 SAA prisoners were released by rebels while 70 bodies of fallen SAA soldiers were handed over to the Syrian authorities.

On the other hand, rebels received 13 prisoners of war along with 11 dead fighters, mostly from recent battles.

Among the freed were Colonel Ramadan Khaleil and 1st Lieutenant Amjad Joudat; two senior SAA officers who were captured by rebels during the 2013 battle of Khan al-Assal.

Freed SAA troops

Footage of the capture almost 3 years ago can be seen here:

Rebel groups involved in the prisoner exchange deal were the Free Syrian Army affiliated ’19th Division’ and the Islamist militia, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki.

The Red Crescent (Syrian Red Cross) played a vital role in brokering and the subsequent implementation of the trade deal, a rare site in the embattled Aleppo governorate.

prisoner swap 2

Prisoner swap

The prisoners, most of whom appeared to be in relative good health, later gave an interview to local reporters.

prisoner swap 3

Since the 1st of April, rebels have regained the initiative in Aleppo – most notably with the capture of al-Eis and Khan Touman.

However, the Syrian Opposition has much to recapture before its forces can recover all villages and towns lost to the SAA during its offensive in late 2015.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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