Al-Qaeda Kidnaps, Then Frees, 300 Syrian Kurds

Civilians Were Traded for Three Detained Fighters

Late Sunday, al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front captured some 300 Syrian Kurdish civilians traveling from the city of Afrin. The fighters captured all the men and male children, and let the women go.

By early Monday, everyone was released, after only being held a few hours. The 300 were reportedly traded with the Kurdish PYD for three Islamist fighters who were being held by the Kurdish force.

This was a pretty high-profile exchange, and surprising in how quickly it was put together, exchanges of hostages are becoming increasingly common in Syria as the war includes more and more factions, however.

Another Islamist faction, Jaish al-Mujahideen, traded 25 civilians today for one of their commanders who was being held by a pro-Assad militia. In that case, the civilians were kidnapped in Aleppo over a year ago, and a deal was just finally reached.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of