DAMASCUS – Syrian rebels exchanged several hostages with the extremist group of Islamic State (ISIS) in Damascus, military sources reported on Monday.
The Army of Islam (Jaish al-Islam), one of the main Syrian rebel groups fighting in Damascus province, has exchanged 11 hostages with ISIS.
“We have freed 11 ISIS fighters after the group agreed to release 11 civilians, including media activists, who have been taken as hostages by ISIS last month,” said Islam Alloush, spokesman of the Army of Islam rebel group.
“All the hostages released by ISIS were civilians from Yalda neighborhood of Damascus suburb,” he said.
Alloush added that the rebels had captured dozens of ISIS jihadis subsequent to clashes earlier in December.
The exchange operation took place on Monday at the Ouruba square in Beirut Street, southern Damascus.
“We agreed to release a number of them (ISIS militants) in order to free our people from the fist of this group,” he added. “The safety of our people and those peaceful activists is a top priority for the Army of Islam.”
Hostages released by ISIS included several media activists, among them prominent media worker Qays al-Shami who used to report on human rights violations by forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Reporting by: Mir Yaqoub
Source: ARA News
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