Having successfully negotiated prisoner swaps for decades w/ Israel, Hizbullah still seems best in field against Syrian insurgents
Translated today from Mideastwire.com
Remember – only ONE Hizbullah fighter has been taken as a prisoner to date (it seems)… an incredible feat that one must consider vis-a-vis the opposing and allied forces in the field and beyond.
On November 26, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily carried the following report: “Hezbollah installed a new equation in the realm of its confrontation with the terrorist groups on the Syrian lands under the headline “prisoners for prisoners.” Outside the context of the confrontation with the Israeli occupation, Hezbollah wasn’t used to making any swaps of prisoners from the party… In Syria, the Free Syrian Army tried to take advantage of the fact that one Hezbollah fighter was taken hostage following a battle in the Qalamoun barren areas… Fighter Imad Ayyad’s photos were shown and so were the demands of the kidnappers.
“Clearly, the Free Army wanted to take advantage of the situation like ISIL and An-Nusra. A Syrian mediator moved between the Free Army and Hezbollah. The kidnappers increased their demands and asked for the release of dozens of prisoners from the Syrian prisons in addition to asking for millions of dollars.
“The party turned a deaf ear to all the demands pertaining to releasing prisoners from the Syrian jails as well as the financial demands. One elite unit from Hezbollah staged an operation against one Free Army location in the barren areas of Qalamoun inside the Syrian lands. Two Free Army members were kidnapped thus re-launching the negotiations according to a new ceiling.
“However, the kidnappers tried again, through the Syrian mediator, to lift the ceiling of their demands by suggesting a swap that includes Ayyad and some twenty prisoners from the Syrian jails in addition to the money. Hezbollah refused any suggestion of this kind. It insisted on swapping Ayyad in return for the two Free Army prisoners and threatened that the party might kidnap other Free Army members.
“At this point, Ayyad’s kidnappers realized that once the party has taken a decision, it doesn’t take it back. Thus, they agreed to the “2 to 1” swap via the Syrian mediator who oversaw all the details of the negotiations. Some Lebanese security channels were completely aware of these negotiations…”