Prisoner Swap Shows Tehran’s Sway over Assad Regime January 10, 2013  4:04 am

syria-assadSyria agreed to release more than 2,000 prisoners in exchange for 48 Iranians held by Syrian rebels, in a deal that highlighted Iran’s sustained influence over the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. “The fact that Assad at this moment would agree to this exchange shows how indebted and deeply dependent he is on Iran’s support,” said Nader Hashemi, an Iran expert and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver.

Iran celebrated the hostage release as a diplomatic victory. Iranian media carried live footage of the men arriving at a hotel in Damascus where they were greeted by a delegation from the Iranian Embassy. They then broke into a loud chant praising Islam’s prophet.

{Andy Newscenter}

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