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Prisoners exchanged for evacuees from pro-regime towns in Syrian north

As part of a deal between the Syrian regime and the opposition fighters in northern Syria, thousands of government soldiers and civilians have been evacuated from the pro-regime towns of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province in return for the regime's release of several batches of its detainees.
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ALEPPO, Syria — Dozens of buses transporting detainees opposing the Syrian regime arrived in Idlib July 19 per an agreement between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Iranian negotiators. Under the deal, struck with Russian-Turkish supervision July 17, HTS evacuated fighters affiliated with the Syrian regime forces along with their families and civilians from al-Foua and Kefraya in the Idlib countryside. They had been besieged since 2015 by Jaish al-Fatah.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated July 19 that 120 buses left al-Foua and Kefraya with at least 6,900 people. The transportation operations took place over three phases, starting July 18. The buses headed to the crossing in al-Eiss in Aleppo’s southern countryside to enter the regime-held areas in southern Aleppo. Meanwhile, several buses transporting 1,500 detainees from Assad’s jails, including women, reached the opposition-held territories in Idlib province July 19.

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