BEIRUT – The exchange between Syria's al-Qaida branch and Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group has resumed in what will lead to the return of thousands of Syrian refugees to their country.
Some 9,000 Syrian refugees and gunmen were waiting to leave Lebanon's Arsal region and head to a jihadi-held part of Syria, according to an agreement between Lebanon, Syria, Hezbollah, and Syria's al-Qaida affiliate known as Levant Liberation Committee, or HTS.
Three Hezbollah fighters were released on Wednesday morning by an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, in return for the release of three al-Qaida fighters who were held in Lebanon. Scores of buses carrying Syrian refugees were expected to move later in the day toward Syria's rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.
The al-Qaida faction will release five more Hezbollah fighters held in Syria.