Syrian rebels free 48 Iranian 'pilgrims' in exchange for 2,000 prisoners

The rebels say the 48 Iranians captured last August were members of the Revolutionary Guards on their way to join pro-government forces. Iran says they were simple pilgrims on their way to a shia shrine. We may never know the truth of the matter, but the Iranians were exchanged for 2,000 Syrian civilians being held by the government. New York Times: The exchange, brokered by Turkey and Qatar, came days after Mr. Assad warned on Sunday that he would not abandon the fight against armed adversaries pressing on the approaches to the Syrian capital, Damascus, and brushed aside calls for him to quit. While the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran confirmed the release of its citizens in a statement to the official IRNA news agency, precise details of the prisoners being released in exchange for them remained unclear. But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a regional power broker allied to the Western and Arab nations seeking Mr. Assad's departure, said he hoped the exchange...(Read Full Post)