Gunmen from rival Sunni and Shiite Muslim villages in northern Syria have freed more than 200 people snatched in tit-for-tat kidnappings this month, easing tensions that threatened to touch off sectarian violence, activists said Friday.

In Syria’s largest city of Aleppo, three explosions that appeared to be caused by missiles killed at least 14 people, activists said, adding that dozens of people were feared to be trapped under the rubble of damaged buildings.

The wave of abductions in a rural part of the Idlib province has highlighted how much the civil war between the regime of President Bashar Assad and the hundreds of rebel groups seeking his ouster has enflamed tensions between Syria’s myriad of religious groups.