Israel and Syria announced the completion of a prisoner exchange process via the International Red Cross and Russian mediation, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his efforts in this process.
"In line with the directives of the Israeli government, the army has returned two shepherds to the Syrian territories," the Israeli army said in a statement, indicating that it had handed them over to representatives of the International Red Cross via the Quneitra crossing.
He indicated that the two men were arrested "in recent weeks" after "crossing the Alpha Line," which represents the disputed borders between Syria and Israel in the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967 and annexed to it.
Afterwards, Syria confirmed the release of two Syrian prisoners, Muhammad Hussein and Tariq al-Obeidan, who were both from Quneitra.
The release of the two men comes the day after the Syrian News Agency (SANA) published a news about a prisoner exchange between Syria and Israel that allowed the release of the "Syrian militant" Nihal Al-Maqt in exchange for an Israeli woman "who entered the Syrian territories in the Quneitra region by mistake and was arrested by the competent Syrian authorities. ".
Nihal Al-Maqt is a resident of Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights and has been under house arrest since she was sentenced last June to a suspended sentence of 3 years and a year of probation.
"The Israeli side wanted to deport her to Syria during the negotiations, but she refused, indicating that the file of the ruling issued against her has been canceled," Nihal Al-Maqt said in a radio commentary to reporters.
Netanyahu: An Israeli woman is being repatriated in the early hours of this morning, Friday (Reuters)
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For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that "an Israeli woman is being repatriated in the early hours of Friday morning with Russian assistance," after crossing the border into Syria.
He said that a young Israeli woman crossed the border into Syria a few days ago, pointing out that he had spoken twice with Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for his help in favor of the young woman’s return, and he had "acted", thanking Putin.
Israeli media said that the woman had crossed into the Syrian-controlled territories from the Golan, and that full details of her identity or motives were not released.
In his statement, Netanyahu said that she had crossed the border "a few days ago" and "were held by the Syrians."
Israel and Syria are still in a state of war, despite the establishment of a demilitarized border area after the armistice agreement, and these borders remained quiet for a relatively long period until the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011.
In recent years, the Israeli army has intensified its strikes in Syria and said they are targeting forces it considers loyal to Iran in Syria.