March 22, 2018 / 9:39 AM / 8 months ago

Hostage swap of Syrian soldiers, rebels launches Harasta deal: Hezbollah media unit

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian insurgents freed 13 soldiers in return for the release of five rebels on Thursday, the first step of a deal over Harasta town in eastern Ghouta, a Hezbollah media unit said.

Around 1,500 Ahrar al-Sham fighters and 6,000 family members will evacuate the town on Thursday, said the military media unit run by Hezbollah, which fights alongside Syria’s army.

The evacuation marks the first such negotiated withdrawal in eastern Ghouta near the capital, where the army and its allies have waged a fierce offensive since last month.

Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Gareth Jones

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