MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russian servicemen in Syria assisted a prisoner swap that took place near the city of Aleppo on Saturday, the head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, Sergei Solomatin, said.
"Near the settlement of Tadef [35 km northeast of Aleppo], 10 Syrian citizens captured by illegal armed groups were swapped for 10 armed opposition militants," Solomatin said.
According to the official, the swap was organized with the assistance of Russian Defense Ministry officials within the Working Group on release of detainees/abductees, handover of bodies and search for missing persons. The working group operates within the framework of the Astana format.
Representatives of Turkey, Iran and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were also present during the handover.
On July 30-31, Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi hosted the tenth meeting of the three guarantor nations of the Syrian ceasefire (Russia, Iran and Turkey), who agreed to launch a pilot project to help the parties to the conflict exchange lists of casualties, prisoners and missing persons.
Negotiations about the exchange of prisoners in Syria have long been conducted on various platforms. Outgoing UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura suggested creating such mechanism as early as in the spring of 2016. However, such efforts produced no result until recently.