Two hundred women still detained after Lebanese/Syria hostage exchange deal

Published October 21st, 2013 - 07:12 GMT
Awaiting confirmation on the status of the negotiated release of hundreds of women. [naharnet]
Awaiting confirmation on the status of the negotiated release of hundreds of women. [naharnet]

As part of an exchange deal of hostages, nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims kidnapped a year and a half ago by rebels in Syria were freed. So were two Turkish pilots that were being held hostage in Lebanon in August. These transfers were part of an exchange mediated by Beirut and Doha.

As part of the exchange, 100 to 200 women detainees were also supposed to be released from the hands of Syrian authorities.  The Lebanese interior minister, Marwan Charbel, was hopeful in turning in a list of names of the women to Damascus, even stating that the Syrian leadership was “co-operating very well” regarding the exchange.

But since then, Syrian authorities have made no contact and there has been no word as to whether the women will be released or not. .

The expectation was that the women would be put on flights from Damascus to Turkey on Sunday. At this time, there is only speculation as to whether it has been done or not. Syrian activists have claimed no news of the women’s arrival.

“There is no confirmed information” on whether the women have been released, said Syrian human-rights activist Sema Nassar.

“I think it’s just going to be rumors until we have something solid. What’s noteworthy is any media that supports the Syrian government doesn’t even mention the women detainees,” said another activist, Rami Jarrah.

A Saudi-owned newspaper in London made mention of the exchange but gave no details.  Al Hayat reported that “122 women detainees have been set free ... as part of the three-way exchange”.

Lebanese independent television channel LBC has reported the same news but again, no details..

It has been reported that tens of thousands of people are being held by the Syrian regime, many of them without trial, said activists.

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