World Bulletin / News Desk
Bulent Yildirim, the Chairman of the IHH Humanitarian Aid Foundation, on Wednesday said that "48 Iranians were released in Damascus's Duma region as 2,130 people, including women and children, began to be transferred by buses as part of a prisoner exchange mediated by Turkey and Qatar." 48 Iranians were held captive by the Syrian opposition.
In exchange for the 48 Iranians, the Syrian administration released 2,130 people, including many Turkish nationals on Wednesday.
The exchange continues on Wednesday as prisoners are being transferred by vehicles.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA), Bulent Yildirim stressed that "48 Iranians were released in Damascus's Duma region on Wednesday. IHH official Izzet Sahin is accompanying the Iranians. In exchange, 2,130 people, including women and children, began to be transferred by buses after being kept at the Syrian Interior Ministry."
Last August, 48 Iranians who had come to Damascus for a religious visit were taken as prisoners by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The FSA had argued that the 48 Iranians were part of a 150-member Iranian group who had come to Syria for surveillance and that some of them belonged to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Palestinian journalist Bashar al-Qaddumi and Turkish cameraman Cuneyt Unal were taken hostage by Assad forces on August 21, 2012.
Cuneyt Unal was handed over to a delegation of Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP) in Syria on November 17, 2012 after being held captive for 90 days.
There has been no information on Qaddumi since the day he was taken hostage.
The IHH Humanitarian Aid Foundation in 2012 helped the release of many Turkish nationals, including journalists Adem Ozkose and Hamit Coskun, who were held captive in Syria as well as 28 Iranian nationals and 7 Syrians who were kept in prisons.