Lebanon and al Nusra Prisoner Swap Underway

Update: The soldiers were released and put in Red Cross vans. Also released as expected: Saja al Dulaimi, ex-wife of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi, She says she divorced him six years ago and intends to go to Turkey.

Lebanon and al Nusra have finally agreed on the terms of a prisoner exchange for the 16 Lebanese military members held hostage by the al-Qaida linked group since August, 2014. Nusra delivered the soldiers to the release point last night.

The actual release won't occur until the 15 or so Islamist prisoners who had been held at Lebanon's Roumieh Prison, arrive at the site. [More...]

One of the prisoners Lebanon has reportedly agreed to release is Saja al-Dulaimi, the ex-wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

ISIS seized 9 soldiers during the August raid (they were cooperating with Nusra at the time), but the ISIS hostages reportedly are not part of the release deal. (al Baghdadi's ex wife later married a Nusra fighter.) Another of those expected to be released is Ola al-Oqaili, the wife of the Chechen military commander Abu Ali al-Shisani, aka Anas Sharkas. (He was with Nusra but in late 2014, swore allegiance to ISIS.. He threatened Lebanon after her capture but it's not clear what role, if any, he had in the negotiations for the current swap.)

Saja al Dulami's military trial began November 17, but it was continued to give her lawyer more time to prepare.

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