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Rebels, regime made prisoner swap in Aleppo: source

Translation by Rana Abdul

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Spokesman of Ahrar al-Sham Movement Abu Yousef al-Mujajir confirmed exchange of captives deal with Syrian regime and rebel factions on Monday.

Al-Muhajir told Zaman al-Wasl the exchange of captives included release of two captives of pro-regime Quds militia for two captives of al-Sultan Murad group.

A source from Red Crescent who sponsored the exchange pointed out the captives from Quds militia are leaders in their militia.

The two captives from al-Sultan Murad rebel factions fell captives to the regime forces a month ago due to regime advancement on al-Malah front, al-Muhajir confirmed.

Al-Muhajir indicated Quds captives one of them fell to Nur al-Din al-Zanki and the other to al-Muntasir Billah brigade. They are from al-Nairab camp and Ahrar al-Sham only coordinated the exchange.

Red Crescent source in turn described the operation to Zaman al-Wasl that it was on a high level since the captives included in the exchange are leaders and the exchange took place in Bustan al-Qasir cross point.

The RC source revealed the exchange operations are done by RC coordination teams from two sides of the cross points. The two parties meet in the middle of the cross point to announce later success of operation.

The source added the exchange is done by a proposal from one of the parties to the RC regarding the exchange. One faction requests or an NGO on behalf of regime. They present a request to RC to do negotiations and RC mediates the exchange negotiations throughout until reaching an agreement.

The RC coordinators have taken photos of captives from both sides to instill trust in the two parties. The bodies exchange is easier than captives exchange and needs less efforts, the source explained.

Liwa al-Quds militia fights in the ranks of the regime in Aleppo since its formation in 2013 by Nairb-born Palestinian Mohamed al-Saeed with facilitation and coordination with Air Force Intelligence. The militia includes Palestinian and Syrians.

The Quds militia is related with Iranian Revolutionary Guards who are situated in al-Nairb airport near the camp in surrounding of Aleppo.

 The relation between the two enhanced for Iran’s interest to form the Syrian Hezbollah. Iran started to support the Quds militia financially, militarily, and logistically. One Quds militia operation included digging a tunnel in surrounding of Nairb airport to secure protection for the revolutionary guards inside the airport fearing rebels storm the airport.

The Shabiha number in Quds militia is estimated to be a 1000 armed and the Quds is considered the spine of the Shabiha in Aleppo province. The militia fights beside Assad forces on al-Zahraa, al-Ramuseh, Azizeh, Karam al-Tarab, al-Bareej, and Handarat fronts.

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