Syrian Gov’t Ready for Prisoner Swap with Rebels
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Syrian government signaled Monday that it was ready to agree prisoner swaps with rebel groups, a confidence-building measure that might help both sides prepare to attend peace talks.
Syrian state media said the government was "always ready" to exchange prisoners in its jails for people "kidnapped by terrorist groups," "particularly in the framework of efforts being made for the coming meeting in Astana."
There was no immediate reaction from rebel groups, Reuters reported.
Kazakhstan's foreign ministry said Saturday that Syrian government and rebel delegations were invited to attend meetings on the Syria crisis in its capital, Astana, on Feb. 15-16.
Separately, UN-backed peace talks are due to start in Geneva on Feb. 20. The main Syrian opposition body on Sunday approved its delegation to the talks.
This month, in a rare move, the Syrian government and rebel groups swapped dozens of women prisoners and hostages, some of them with their children, in Hama province in northwestern Syria.