Kurds-al-Nusra swap as clashes intensify

Kurds-al-Nusra swap as clashes intensify

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Kurds-al-Nusra swap as clashes intensify

Unidentified people are seen fleeing from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad. DHA photo

Islamists battling Kurdish fighters in the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad have released 300 Kurdish civilians they were holding prisoner in exchange for a rebel chief, a watchdog said on July 21.

“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS] released 300 Kurds who had been taken prisoner overnight and this morning, in exchange for captured [jihadist] commander Abu Musab,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Imprisoned by Kurdish fighters late on July 20, Abu Musab was reportedly released one day later. However, tension in Tal Abyad was still palpable even after the release, an activist said.

“Things are calm right now, but I think we’ll see new clashes by nightfall. Kurdish fighters have deployed snipers,” the activist said on condition of anonymity.

Abu Musab and hundreds of Kurdish civilians were detained in the latest confrontation between jihadists and Syrian Kurds.

“We’ve lived through a small civil war over the past few hours,” said the activist, who asked not to be named for security reasons.“

After Abu Musab was detained, ISIS deployed a large number of snipers and fighters. There have been clashes since last night, and unfortunately there were abuses by all sides.”