Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah movement said one of its members captured by Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate was released on Tuesday in exchange for two jihadists held by the Shiite group.
“Prisoner Emad Ayyad has been freed, in exchange for two members of Al-Nusra Front who were being held by Hezbollah, after weeks of negotiations,” the group’s television channel reported.
Hezbollah confirmed the swap in a later statement without mentioning Al-Nusra.
It said Ayyad was exchanged for two “armed men”, without specifying where or when he had been captured.
Hezbollah is allied to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and it has sent thousands of fighters to support the Syrian army’s bid to quell a nearly four-year revolt across the country.
In recent months, Hezbollah has played a key role in fighting around Damascus, especially in the Qalamoun region that borders Lebanon.
The prisoner swap comes as Qatari-mediated talks try to secure the release of 27 Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Al-Nusra and the Islamic State jihadist group since August after a fierce battle for the border town of Arsal.
Three other troops being held by Al-Nusra and the IS have already been executed.