YPG trades IS foreign fighters for Kurdish leaders

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Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) forces in Al-Hasakah province exchanged prisoners with the Islamic State on Sunday, one of the first successful exchanges between the two parties, reported pro-opposition al-Masar Press. “The exchange took place with an Arab mediator from the town of al-Hawl who had a relationship with the two parties and was close to IS,” Raman Yousef, a Kurdish activist in al-Hasakah, told Syria Direct on Monday. “Three muhajireen (foreigner fighters) from the Islamic State were traded for three leaders from the Kurdish Democratic Union,” said Yousef. The YPG is the military wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union party (PYD). Previous attempts last year between the YPG and IS to exchange prisoners have ended in failure. The Hasakah Youth Union, a local opposition Facebook page, initially denied the exchange took place, later amending its post to report that three civilians detained by the YPG were released after their families paid a sum of money.