On Thursday, the National Army in the countryside of Aleppo, northern Syria, conducted a prisoners exchange operation with Assad’s forces under the auspices of Russia and Turkey.
According to al-Souria Net’s sources: “The exchange took place at the Abu al-Zandin crossing, which separates regime-controlled areas from opposition groups in the city of al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo.
The operation included the release of five persons from both parties, under the supervision of the United Nations and the International Red Cross.
According to al-Souria Net’s sources, the detainees who were released from the regime’s prisons are Ibrahim Mohammed al-Hussein, Ibrahim Mohammed al-Tayeb from Idlib countryside; Ibrahim Ali Askar from Raqqa; Mohammed al-Kurdi from Aleppo; and Abdul Latif Haj Abban from rural Aleppo.
The sources explained that the operation was carried out with Russian-Turkish backing, as part of implementing a resolution from the Astana talks. In the exchange, Russian forces appeared as representatives of the regime’s authority, and Turkish forces appeared for the other side (opposition authority).
Regime media did not publish information on the five people transferred from northwestern Syria to areas controlled by the Assad regime. Nevertheless, state television described the prisoners that were included in the exchange process as “abductees.”
Several similar exchanges have taken place between the regime and the rebel militias on the one hand (Iranian militias and Hezbollah), and between opposition factions in rural Aleppo and Idleb or “jihadist” groups on the other. These have occurred since 2020, when military campaigns increasingly became less frequent.
This latest exchange took place under Russian-Turkish auspices, according to the leader of the National Army’s al-Mu’tasim division, known as al-Farouq Abu Bakr.
“The operation took place between the Turks and the Russians, and there is no information on the connections between the parties to the exchange,” Abu Bakr told al-Souria Net.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.