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Al-Qaeda Frees US-Trained Rebels in Syria
International

Al-Qaeda Frees US-Trained Rebels in Syria

Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, has freed several members of a US-trained rebel force that it kidnapped two weeks ago, the western-backed unit said in a statement.

In a statement circulating on social media, Division 30 said seven of its members had been freed by Nusra after being captured in late July, AFP reported.

"Seven Division 30 fighters who were being held by the brothers in Al-Nusra Front have been freed," the statement stamped by the unit said.

"We welcome this initiative and urge the brothers of Nusra and hope that they will release in the coming hours the group's commander and other fighters," the statement continued.

It did not specify where the releases took place. All the kidnaps occurred in northern Syria.

Division 30 is among the units receiving training as part of a US-led program operating from Turkey that is intended to create a force to fight the Islamic State militant group. But after the first 54 members of the force entered Syria in July, 13 were kidnapped by Nusra, including a commander, and at least three more were killed in clashes with the extremist group.

Nusra accused the captured fighters of serving US interests and claimed responsibility for the kidnap in a video purporting to show some of the detained forces.

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