September 19, 2014
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - A group of 48 Iranians freed by Syrian rebels after months in captivity have arrived at a Damascus hotel.
Officials say they were released after President Bashar Assad's regime promised to free hundreds of detainees in the first major prisoner swap of the country's civil war.
The men arrived Wednesday at the Sheraton hotel in several vans escorted by Syrian security forces.
Iran's ambassador in Damascus Mohammad Riza Shibani greeted them with flowers.
Rebels claimed the captives were linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, but Tehran has denied that, saying the men were pilgrims visiting Shiite religious sites in Syria.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.