Al Arabiya’s Alia Ibrahim documents Assad’s ties with top ISIS militants

Ibrahim said many of those released from Assad’s prison were known fundamentalist fighters

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This week, Inside the Newsroom sits down with Alia Ibrahim, Al Arabiya News Channel's senior correspondent in Beirut, who has just obtained a number of exclusive interviews with Syrian activists who have been imprisoned alongside members of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Ibrahim stressed on the point that many of those released from prison by the Syrian regime were known fundamentalist fighters who had their sentences reduced when anti-government protests began in Tunisia and Libya. Many were released early.

"Many of those who [had been] released are known to be among the fighters of the fundamentalist factions," Ibrahim added.

Citing her sources, Ibrahim said many leading figures of extremist factions in Syria today had previously been imprisoned in Sednaya, adding that the government had encouraged their participation in the Syrian civil war.

"The regime is responsible for releasing them from its prisons," she added.

"If you know they are fundamentalists and radicalists and you are fighting these guys, why did you set them free in the first place?" she asked.

ISIS is currently battling against Syrian opposition forces. The clashes began in early January, after accusations that ISIS was abusing both civilians and rival rebel forces. The fighting has left more than 1,700 people dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Alia Ibrahim has been working with Al Arabiya since 2009 and has covered several wars and major events in Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Turkey and Jordan.

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