9,000 Syrian refugees, fighters set to be released in 2nd phase of ceasefire agreement

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Sources say 9,000 Syrian refugees as well as fighters from the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham are set to return to Syria Monday, in the second phase of a ceasefire agreement reached between Hezbollah and the Jihadist group.

The agreement was reached on Thursday.

“Some 9,000 are set to leave, among them refugees, fighters of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and their families – from the encampments in Wadi Hmeid” on the outskirts of the north-eastern Lebanese town of Arsal, a Hezbollah source said Monday.

The Hezbollah-affiliated War Media said that in return, Hezbollah prisoners who are held with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in Syria will be set free.

There are eight Hezbollah captives being held by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in Syria.

A Lebanese security source told dpa that the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham fighters will be heading mainly to Syria’s north-western province of Idlib, a stronghold of the jihadist group.

According to Hezbollah’s television channel al Manar, some 150 to 200 buses will be used as part of the transfer, which is expected to take more than one day due to the narrow and difficult roads in the area.

The news agency Eba, which is affiliated with the Jihadist group, quoted a source as saying the main concern “is to secure the movement of the buses inside areas controlled by the criminal (Syrian) regime.”

NAN reports that the ceasefire deal, which came into effect at 6 a.m. on Thursday, was reached when a condition related to Hizbullah’s fighters was met.

Under the deal, the remaining fighters from the al-Nusra Front will withdraw from the region.(dpa/NAN)