On February 8, 2017, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma al-Assad (the one with the pony-tail) met with women and children who were held in captivity by Islamist militants for more than three years. It is common for Syrian citizens to embrace the president and his wife like cousins, even on first meeting; this is a closeness within Syria. These civilians were kidnapped by the jihadi groups in 2013, when the last ones attempted to capture several towns in the northern countryside of the Latakia governorate. The prisoner swap between the Syrian authorities and Islamists was concluded yesterday, with each side pledging to release 54 women detainees. Thus, the insurgents will set freee 54 women who were kidnapped from northern Latakia countryside in 2013, in exchange for the same number of women imprisoned by Syrian authorities. On August 2013, a coalition of Islamist 'rebels' wich at the time included the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) launched a powerful assault to conquer the city of Al-Haffah in Northern Latakia. Although the assault was successfully repelled by government forces, the jihadists brutally massacred and kidnapped hundreds of civilians from Alawite-inhabited villages before leaving the area.