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Syria releases 13 women detainees

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The Syrian government released 13 female detainees, an official and an activist group said Wednesday, in a move that appeared to be part of an ambitious regional prisoner exchange.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the women walked out of the headquarters of the Damascus provincial government Tuesday morning, but hasn’t been able to contact them. A Syrian government official confirmed the women’s release, but declined to provide further details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief the media.

It was not immediately clear whether the women released were part of a complicated hostage swap last week brokered by Qatar and the Palestinian Authority that saw Syrian rebels release nine Lebanese Shi’ite Muslims, while Lebanese gunmen simultaneously freed two Turkish pilots.

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