Israel and Syria have finalized the exchange of several detainees in an agreement achieved thanks to the mediation of Russia. An Israeli arrested by Syrian soldiers after crossing the border at the beginning of the month landed this morning at Ben Gurion airport on a plane from Moscow. The mystery surrounds the reasons why the young woman entered the territory of a country technically at war with Israel, although Syria said she did so by mistake ruling out that she was an Israeli spy.
Israel released two Syrians detained in the border area of the so-called Alpha Line and announced the pardon of Nihal al Mat. Hailing from the Druze village of Majdal Shams, located on the Golan plateau occupied by Israel in the war of ’67, this woman was under house arrest after being sentenced to three years for crimes against security.
The humanitarian deal initially included the release of Diab Qahmouz from the village of Ghajar, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2017 for plotting an attack on the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Specifically, the placing of explosives, which he had introduced from Lebanon, to activate them in a shopping center in the Israeli city of Haifa. Mahmoud, however, flatly refused to go to Syria. Al Maqt also showed her refusal to be sent to Damascus, but in the end, she agreed to a pardon so she could stay at her home in Majdal Shams. To make the exchange effective, Israel agreed to another request unprecedented in these cases according to the definition of a source that has not been disclosed.
THE MYSTERIOUS YOUNG WOMAN
The freed Israeli was examined by an Israeli doctor in Moscow, where last Wednesday the National Security Adviser, Meir Ben Shabat, and the head of the Commission in charge of the Israeli kidnapped, captive and missing, Yaron Bloom arrived.
Who is the young woman? Why did you decide to risk your life crossing the border? From what has been leaked to the media, it is known that he is over 20 years old and comes from an ultra-Orthodox family of Modiin Ilit that he left a few years ago. The Israeli, who is no longer ultra-Orthodox, learned Arabic and in the past tried several times to cross both the northern border and that of Jordan and the Gaza Strip controlled by the Islamist group Hamas. The Israeli soldiers prevented their infiltration into the Palestinian enclave. On this occasion, however, he managed to evade the surveillance of the Israeli military deployed on the border with Syria. He did it in a section still without a security gate due to the topography of that particular area. Speculations about his motives include personal problems due to toa complex family and social context, activism, and a love story.
Nobody in Israel knew of his disappearance. After detaining and questioning her, Syrian security agencies ruled out that she was an Israeli spy. It was when Syria demanded a swap through the Russian channel. President Vladimir Putin, with enormous influence on the rais of Bashar Asad and remarkable military presence in Syria and at the same time good relations with Israel, intervened to reach an agreement. Israel has always done and will do everything it can to bring its citizens home, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a statement thanking Putin’s intervention.
A few days ago, an Israeli girl crossed the border into Syria. I spoke twice with my friend the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and asked him for help to achieve his return and that is how he acted. Netanyahu confirmed the release of what he called two Syrian pastors. But the Israeli army arrested them in an ambush at the border suspecting that they were sent by Hezbollah.
Syria’s state news agency named the two Syrian prisoners Mohamed Ahmed Hussein and Tarek Gassab al-Ebeidan and explained that they were released in the framework of the Syrian State’s efforts to free its citizens detained in the prisons of the Israeli occupation. Yesterday the militant fighter al-Maqt was released in the same operation that included the release of an Israeli girl who entered Syrian territory by mistake and was arrested by the relevant Syrian authorities,” the Sana news agency said.