Bad weather strands freed Iranians at Damascus airport

Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria - Bad weather has stranded Iranians freed by Syrian rebels at an airport in Damascus.

A Syrian official says the Iranians left the Damascus Sheraton hotel early Thursday. But the plane to take them home after months in captivity could not take off because of strong winds from a fierce winter storm that has hit the Middle East in recent days.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give information to the media.

The rebels freed 48 Iranians on Wednesday in exchange for more than 2,000 prisoners held by Syrian authorities. It was the first major prisoner swap since the uprising began against President Bashar Assad nearly 22 months ago.

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