Kurdish fighters of the YPG in Afrin, northwest Syria. Photo: ARA News
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Hasakah, Syria – Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) exchanged hostages with Islamic State group (IS/ISIS), military sources reported on Sunday.
The Kurdish units had taken several ISIS militants as hostages after the radical group captured a number of YPG fighters subsequent to clashes in the southern countryside of Hasakah province, northeast Syria.
Speaking to ARA News in Hasakah, a spokesman for the YPG Media Center said they handed over three militants to the extremist group “after the release of three YPG Kurdish fighters”.
“The operation took place near al-Hol town on Sunday afternoon,” the source said.
The released IS militants were foreign nationals, according to Abu al-Baraa, a pro-ISIS media activist.
“The exchange operation was facilitated by mediators from local Arab tribes in al-Hol, east of Hasakah,” Abu al-Baraa told ARA News on the phone.
After more than two years of conflict in northern Syria, this is the first time that YPG and ISIS exchange hostages.
Kurdish YPG forces have recently expelled ISIS militants from the city of Hasakah and some surrounding villages after fierce battles.
However, the extremist group is still in control of Shaddadi and al-Hol towns in Hasakah countryside, as Kurds continue efforts to eliminate the group from the entire province with support from the U.S.-led coalition.
Reporting by: Zozan Shekho
Source: ARA News