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Syria releases 48 women detainees in three-way prisoner exchange

Deal brokered by Qatar and Palestinian Authority also saw the release of nine Lebanese Shias and two Turkish pilots

Syria-Lebanon prisoner release
Relatives of the Lebanese detainees freed as part of the prisoner exchange celebrate news of their release in Beirut. Photograph: Hussein Malla/AP

Activists say the Syrian government has released 48 women detainees as part of a three-way prisoner exchange.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that the women were freed over the past two days. It said the figure of 48 included 13 whose release had previously been reported.

There was no immediate comment from Syrian officials.

The Observatory said the release was part of a complicated hostage swap brokered by Qatar and the Palestinian Authority that saw Syrian rebels free nine Lebanese Shia Muslims, while Lebanese gunmen simultaneously released two Turkish pilots.

Lebanese officials said the third part of the deal called for the Syrian government to free a number of women detainees to meet the rebels’ demands.

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