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Syria releases a total of 48 women detainees as part of hostage-swap deal

In this photo, which AP obtained from Syrian official news agency SANA and which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, President Bashar Assad gestures as he speaks during an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Syria’s president said Monday that the factors that would allow a landmark conference aimed at ending the country’s civil war do not yet exist, throwing further doubt on international efforts to hold peace talks that have already been repeatedly delayed. (AP Photo/SANA)

In this photo, which AP obtained from Syrian official news agency SANA and which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, President Bashar Assad gestures as he speaks during an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Syria’s president said Monday that the factors that would allow a landmark conference aimed at ending the country’s civil war do not yet exist, throwing further doubt on international efforts to hold peace talks that have already been repeatedly delayed. (AP Photo/SANA)  (The Associated Press)

Activists say the Syrian government has released a total of 48 women detainees as part of a three-way prisoner exchange.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday the women were freed over the past two days. It said the figure of 48 included the 13 women whose release was previously reported.

There was no immediate comment from Syrian officials.

The Observatory says the release was part of a complicated hostage swap last week brokered by Qatar and the Palestinian Authority that saw Syrian rebels free nine Lebanese Shiite Muslims, while Lebanese gunmen simultaneously released two Turkish pilots.

Lebanese officials have said a third part of the deal called for the Syrian government to free a number of women detainees to meet the rebels' demands.