Damascus, 18 Jumadil Akhir 1436/7 April 2015 (MINA) – Some 300 Kurdish civilians kidnapped by Takfiri militants at a checkpoint in northwestern Syria and held for several hours have been released, a Kurdish official says.
According to Newaf Khalil, a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), a militant group allied to Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, detained the Kurds.
“A group of 300 people on five coaches and a mini-bus coming from [the town of] Afrin were kidnapped at a checkpoint as they went to Aleppo to collect their salaries,” Khalil said after their abduction, Press Tv quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
He later announced that the abductees were set free in exchange for three militants who had been detained in Afrin by Kurdish forces.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the release of the Kurdish civilians who are said to have been held in a town in Idlib Province.
Idlib has been the epicenter of deadly fighting between government troops and militants for months. It is located near the strategically significant main highway that links the capital, Damascus, to the key northern city of Aleppo.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Yacoub El Hillo said on March 30 that tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced after al-Qaeda-linked terrorists seized Idlib from government troops.
Idlib is Syria’s second provincial capital to fall into the hands of militants following the fall of the northern city of Raqqah in March 2013.
The violence in Syria, fueled by foreign-backed Takfiri groups, including ISIL, has claimed the lives of over 215,000 people since March 2011, according to reports. (T/P002/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)