Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi (C-front) addresses the media as he takes part to a demonstration of pro-Syrian regime protesters, on January 31, 2014 in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES
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The Syrian government freed only 25 prisoners -- and not the 150 reported by foreign mediators -- in exchange for 13 Greek Orthodox nuns who had been held by Al-Qaeda-linked rebels, the country's information minister said Tuesday.Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, a powerful figure trusted by the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group and its Syrian government allies, was on hand to receive the nuns early Monday.Assad's government accuses the Gulf state of supporting terrorists -- a term they use for the rebels -- in a plot to destroy Syria.The Syrian conflict started as largely peaceful protests against Assad's rule in March 2011 . According to a UNICEF report released on Tuesday, more than half of the 2 million Syrian refugees -- about 1.2 million -- are children.
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