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Syria conflict: Thousands prepare for prisoner exchange deal  

Hezbollah Soldiers [file photo]
Hezbollah Soldiers [file photo]

Thousands are preparing to leave an area on the border between Lebanon and Syria, following an agreement between a Syrian opposition group and Hezbollah.

Coaches arrived yesterday to ferry thousands from the Lebanese border into territory controlled by opposition forces in Syria as part of a prisoner exchange deal with the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.

The buses were scheduled to leave yesterday, however due to logistical issues the departure has been delayed until today.

A ceasefire agreement between Jabhat Al-Nusra and Hezbollah will reportedly see the evacuation of 9,000 fighters and their relatives to a Jabhat Al-Nusra controlled region in Syria.

The agreement includes the departure of all Jabhat Al-Nusra Front militants from the north-eastern border area of Lebanon near the town of Arsal, as well as any civilians in the nearby refugee camps who wish to leave.

Read: Assad ready to agree prisoner swap deal in preparation for peace talks

The first phase of the ceasefire was brokered by a Lebanese internal security service on Sunday, where both sides exchanged the bodies of fighters killed in the clashes.

A Lebanese security reported by Reuters Arabic said 200 militants with hundreds of family members as well as more than 5,000 refugees would leave the area, mostly to Idlib, which is under opposition control.

The deal is thought to be similar to deals concluded inside Syria, under which the Syrian government transferred opponents and civilians to Idlib and other areas under opposition control.

#WarInSyria

Hezbollah fighters played a major role in the Syria conflict. It sent thousands of fighters along the border during the six-year-old war. It seized most of the region of Arsal last week in a joint attack with the Syrian army to drive Syrian opposition fighters out of their last foothold in the border region.

The Al-Nusra Front was the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda before it broke ties with the organisation and changed its name last year. It now leads the Sham Liberation Organisation in the Syrian war.

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LebanonMiddle EastNewsSyria
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