Israel Releases Two More Captives Under Prisoner Swap Deal With Syria

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Israel Releases Two More Captives Under Prisoner Swap Deal With Syria

ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE: AP Photo/Sergei Grits, archive

On February 18, Israel released two more Syrian captives as a part of a prisoners swap deal the was recently brokered by Russia.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, the freed captives, both shepherds from al-Quneitra, were abducted by the Israeli military a while ago.

“The two captives, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein and Tariq Ghassab al-Obeidan, were freed and brought back to their hometowns in the al-Quneitra governorate,” a Syrian official told the state-run news agency.

The Israeli military confirmed the release of the Syrian captives. A spokesman for the military, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, claimed that both men were arrested after crossing the separation line along the Golan Heights.

Under the prisoner swap deal, which was recently brokered by Russia, Israel released two Syrian captives, Nihal Almukt and Dhiab Qahmuz, a day earlier.

In return, Syria released an Israeli girl who entered Syria under unknown circumstances a few weeks ago. According to Israeli media, the girl is currently in Russia and should arrive in Tel Aviv within a few hours.

The deal was not the first of this kind. Two years ago, Israel recovered the remains of Zachary Baumel, a U.S.-born Israeli soldier missing since a 1982 tank battle against the Syrian Arab Army, as a part of a deal brokered by Russia. A number of Syrian prisoners were released from Israeli jails in return.

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