Prisoner swap efforts to continue in Syria: Turkey

             By Ahmet Salih Alacaci</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - A working group comprised of Turkey, Russia, Iran and the UN will continue its efforts to recover civilians and prisoners on both sides of the Syrian conflict, Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.</p>    <p>The statement came in the wake of prisoner swap between the Assad regime and the armed opposition in line with the Astana peace process -- Turkey, Russia and Iran serving as guarantor states.</p>    <p>A total of 42 prisoners had been swapped with the activities of the &quot;Working Group on the Release of Detainees/Abductees, Handover of Bodies and Identification of Missing Persons.&quot;</p>    <p>The mutual prisoner change occurred in the Abu al Zindeen district south of the opposition-controlled town of al-Bab, northern Syria, as part of the second project of the working group which was established within the framework of the Astana Process.</p>    <p>According to information obtained by Anadolu Agency, the Assad regime released 22 prisoners, including a number of women and children.</p>    <p>The armed opposition groups, for their part, reciprocated by releasing 20 male captives linked to the Assad regime. </p>  <p>Although an initial prisoner swap was carried out last November, hundreds of thousands of people are still thought to be languishing inside Syrian regime prisons.

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