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Bad weather strands freed Iranians at Damascus airport

  • ce66eb291afe2601260f6a706700d02c.jpg

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, freed Iranian hostages who were captured by the Syrian rebels since August, hold roses as they gather at a hotel, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday Jan. 9, 2013. Rebels freed 48 Iranians on Wednesday in exchange for more than 2,000 prisoners, including women and children, held by Syrian authorities — a deal struck after rare negotiations involving regional powers Turkey, Qatar and Iran. (AP Photo/SANA) (The Associated Press)

  • 59d344f11afe2601260f6a706700514b.jpg

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, freed Iranian hostages who were captured by the Syrian rebels, left, received by Iranian officials, left, upon their arrival at a hotel, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday Jan. 9, 2013. Rebels freed 48 Iranians on Wednesday in exchange for more than 2,000 prisoners, including women and children, held by Syrian authorities — a deal struck after rare negotiations involving regional powers Turkey, Qatar and Iran. (AP Photo/SANA) (The Associated Press)

  • 8ead251519291e01260f6a7067008e31.jpg

    In this photo provided by the Turkish Islamic aid group IHH, freed Syrian prisoners released by the Syrian government are seen in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Syrian rebels freed 48 Iranians held captive since August, Iranian state TV reported Wednesday, part of what appeared to be the first major prisoner swap of the civil war. The deal, reportedly coordinated by the IHH, will also involve the release of more than 2,000 Syrians held by Bashar Assad's regime, Turkey's state-run agency Anadolu Agency reported. (AP Photo/IHH) (The Associated Press)

  • f6e2c790192d1e01260f6a70670057e3.jpg

    In this photo provided by the Turkish Islamic aid group IHH, freed Syrian prisoners released by the Syrian government are seen in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Syrian rebels freed 48 Iranians held captive since August, Iranian state TV reported Wednesday, part of what appeared to be the first major prisoner swap of the civil war. The deal, reportedly coordinated by the IHH, will also involve the release of more than 2,000 Syrians held by Bashar Assad's regime, Turkey's state-run agency Anadolu Agency reported. (AP Photo/IHH) (The Associated Press)

Bad weather has stranded Iranians freed by Syrian rebels at an airport in Damascus.

A Syrian official says the Iranians left the Damascus Sheraton hotel early Thursday. But the plane to take them home after months in captivity could not take off because of strong winds from a fierce winter storm that has hit the Middle East in recent days.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give information to the media.

The rebels freed 48 Iranians on Wednesday in exchange for more than 2,000 prisoners held by Syrian authorities. It was the first major prisoner swap since the uprising began against President Bashar Assad nearly 22 months ago.