When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

Major Prisoner Swap Begins: 2,130 Syrians For 48 Iranians

HÜRRIYET (Turkey), THE GUARDIAN (UK), REUTERS, FRANCE 24

Worldcrunch

ISTANBUL– The Syrian government has announced it would free 2,130 civilian prisoners on Wednesday, in exchange for the release of 48 Iranians held by Syrian rebels.

Iranian state TV confirmed that the 48 hostages, captured by the Free Syrian Army back in August, had been freed. The Syrian rebels say the Iranians, who claimed to be religious pilgrims, were working for the Damascus regime.

Although there has been no confirmation from the Syrian government so far, Bulent Yildirim, head of the Turkish non-governmental organization Humanitarian Relief Foundation that helped broker the swap, told Reuters that the exchange was underway: "The 48 Iranians have been released and are being taken to Damascus, accompanied by Iranian and Syrian officials."

Biggest ever since uprising began prisoner swap taking place in #syria.2000+ prisoners in exchange for 48 Iranians

— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) January 9, 2013

Among the 2,130 civilians held captive by the Syrian regime there are at least four Turkish citizens, Yıldırım told Turkey’s Hürriyet, adding that the swap -- happening simultaneously in several cities including Damascus, Latakia, Homs, Idlib and Aleppo -- was being directed with mediation from Turkey, Qatar and Iran.

The news comes as the UN World Food Program (WFP) warned that it was unable to reach one million desperate and hungry Syrians because of the perilous security situation across the country after nearly two years of deadly conflict, France 24 reports.

The WFP is handing out food rations to about 1.5 million people in Syria each month, a spokeswoman for the organization said, but it still falls short of the 2.5 million to be reached.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Image of a group of police officers, in uniform, on their motorbikes in the street.

Police officers from the Memphis Police Department, in Memphis, USA.

Ian T. Adams and Seth W. Stoughton

The officers charged in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols were not your everyday uniformed patrol officers.

Rather, they were part of an elite squad: Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION team. A rather tortured acronym for “Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods,” SCORPION is a crime suppression unit – that is, officers detailed specifically to prevent, detect and interrupt violent crime by proactively using stops, frisks, searches and arrests. Such specialized units are common in forces across the U.S. and tend to rely on aggressive policing tactics.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest