Syria Regime Frees Tolerated Opposition Member

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A leading member of Syria's regime-tolerated opposition has been released after being held for several hours by the security forces, his party said on Sunday.

Monzer Khaddam, a member of the executive bureau of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCBDC), "was released" hours after he was detained Saturday at a military checkpoint in Tartus, party head Hassan Abdel Azim told Agence France Presse.

Abdel Azim cited "Russian and international pressure for the release of Monzer Khaddam.”

Several other members of the regime-tolerated opposition have been arrested in recent weeks, including the NCBDC's secretary general Raja Nasser, who was detained last month.

Another party member, Abdel Aziz Khair, was arrested in September 2012. There has been no news of him since.

The NCBDC on Saturday condemned Khaddam's arrest as part of a campaign "targeting leaders and members of the National Coordination Body, which calls for a political solution" to the conflict raging in Syria.

Khaddam's release comes after international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spotlighted in a Geneva meeting Friday the ongoing detention of the NCBDC's Nasser, who had been mentioned as a likely delegate for peace talks due to take place in Switzerland next month.

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