Al-Qaida releases 7 US-backed rebels in northern Syria, weeks after nearly crushing the group

A U.S.-backed rebel group says al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria has released seven of its members abducted last month.

The Division 30 rebel group says it hopes the Nusra Front will release the group's commander who has been held since July 30.

Days after the abduction, the Nusra Front attacked the Division 30 command in northern Syria, leading to the near-collapse of the group that has dozens of fighters.

The Nusra Front said at the time it abducted the rebels because they were trained by the U.S.

The Division 30 statement released late Saturday described Nusra Front fighters as "brothers" and thanked them for the release, saying "we value this noble step." It said Division 30 is in the "same line with all holy warriors in Syria."