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Syrian soldiers captured by the opposition wish they were Iranian

A video posted by Syrian activists on Youtube shows a group of Syrian pro-regime prisoners of war wishing that they were Iranian or Hezbollah Lebanon fighters so that the Assad regime would hurry to negotiate their release in exchange for activists incarcerated in its prisons.[1]

The 20 or so soldiers were captured by the Free Syrian Army over a year ago and have been in captivity near Idlib ever since, hopelessly waiting for a prisoner exchange deal.

“We have been here in captivity for a year but they are not negotiating for our release,” says one of them to the camera. “If we had been from Hezbollah or Iran or Russia, they would have negotiated or found a way to release us. It’s just because we are Syrian. Why? Weren’t we soldiers who served this state?” he adds.

In the last biggest prisoner exchange in Syria in January 2013, the Assad regime released 2,130 opposition detainees in return for 48 Iranians freed by the rebels after five months in captivity.[2]

Other interviews in the video say they are “treated well” by their captors, and the statements are contrasted with the famous images of starved and tortured corpses of detainees who died in the regime’s prisons, which were leaked to the media in January 2014.

The short video was made by a Syrian activist collective called Basma (Arabic for ‘fingerprint’) which “works to convey the message of the Syrian revolution as an inclusive movement for all Syrians.”[3]

Have you ever heard of a regime that leaves its own soldiers to rot in captivity while negotiating for the release of foreigners, and in exchange for agreeing to release some of its own citizens incarcerated in its prison?

[1] The video is available at
[3] The group’s website is

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