Syrian Rebels Free Iranians in Prisoner Exchange

Posted January 9th, 2013 at 7:15 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian rebels have freed 48 Iranians in exchange for the Syrian government releasing more than 2,000 prisoners.

Turkish aid group IHH says it helped coordinate the swap, and that the prisoners released by Syria include nationals from Turkey and other countries.

Rebels captured the Iranians in August in Damascus, alleging they were part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on a “reconnaissance mission.” Iran denied the claim, saying the detainees were on a religious pilgrimage.

Iran is Syria's strongest regional ally.

Meanwhile, Russian media say officials from the United States and Russia will meet Friday in Geneva with United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.