Syrian regime claim they are 'always ready' for prisoner swaps with opposition forces
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Damascus and militants had exchanged 112 people under a swap deal. (AFP/File)
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The Syrian government has expressed its readiness for prisoner swaps with militant groups ahead of a new round of peace talks in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.
Syria’s state media said the government was “always ready” to exchange prisoners in its jails for people kidnapped by rebel groups, “particularly in the framework of efforts being made for the coming meeting in Astana.”
The militant groups have not commented on the report so far.
Last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Damascus and militants had exchanged 112 people under a swap deal.
More than 50 Syrian women and children returned home in Latakia Province after the Syrian government secured their release from militant captivity under the deal.
The news comes as the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said in a Saturday statement that delegations from the Syrian government and opposition as well as UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura have been invited to the next round of Astana talks on February 15-16.
On January 23-24, Astana hosted Syrian talks organized by Iran, Russia and Turkey, with the presence of representatives from the Syrian government and opposition groups.
In another development, fierce infighting erupted between militants seen as close to the Daesh group and a rival outfit in northwestern Syria on Monday, the Observatory said.
The pro-opposition monitoring group said members of the Jund al-Aqsa and Tahrir al-Sham militant groups clashed around Kafr Zeita in the provinces of Hama and Idlib.
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