Syria Releases Women Held in Prison

Authorities in Syria released 61 women who had been detained, said a group of activists on Thursday. The latest prisoner exchange was negotiated between three groups.

At the same time, some parts of the capital of Damascus received electricity after power had been cut, while many parts of the country remained in darkness.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, said on Thursday that Syria’s government freed the 61 women over the last couple of days. No comments were made by Syrian officials nor were details released as to who the women had been or where they currently were.

The Observatory said those released had been part of a hostage swap from last week that was brokered by the Palestinian Authority and Qatar that saw rebels from Syria free nine Shiite Muslims from Lebanon, while gunmen from Lebanon at the same time released two pilots from Turkey.

Officials in Lebanon said the third and final part of the agreement called for the government of Syria to free dozens of women detainees to meet the demands of the rebels.

The involvement of Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority in a deal has showed to what extent the Syrian crisis has reached, now entering its third year.

Damascus saw its power gradually restored to parts of the capital early on Thursday after the capital had been swept into darkness from a complete blackout on Wednesday.

One resident of Damascus said electricity was restored in his neighborhood following a blackout of three hours.

The state news agency of Syria quoted the country’s Electricity Minister as saying the authorities plan to have the power restored within 48 hours.

Government officials blamed opposition rebels for the outage and said a gas pipeline had been damaged that supplied fuel for the power stations in the southern section of the country.

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