Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As “Goodwill Gesture” To Damascus (Photos)

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Israel released on January 10 two Syrian prisoners, in what the country called a “diplomatic goodwill gesture” towards the Damascus government.

The release of the prisoners was done as a response to the repatriation of the body of Sergeant first class Zechariah Baumel, a U.S.-born Israeli tank commander who went missing in battle during the 1982 Lebanon War. Baumel’s remains were transferred from Syria to Israel with direct help from Russia in April of 2019.

Both freed Syrians, Sidqi al-Maqt and Amal Abu Salah, were residents of a Druze village in the Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.

Al-Maqt was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2017 for spying on Israeli military positions on behalf of Syrian intelligence. He was arrested on 2015 allegedly for passing photographs and written reports on Israeli positions to Syrian intelligence officials.

Prior to that al-Maqt spent 27 years behind bars in Israel, also for spying. He was released for the first time in 2012.

Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As “Goodwill Gesture” To Damascus (Photos)

Click to see full-size image.

Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As “Goodwill Gesture” To Damascus (Photos)

Click to see full-size image.

Upon his release, al-Maqt thanked Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The freed Syrian refused to take photos with Israeli officials.

“The Syrian resolve overcame the resolve of the occupation and the enemy … My release was without conditions, to the chagrin of the occupation,” the Times of Israel quoted al-Maqt as saying.

The second freed Syrian, Abu Salah, was arrested in 2015 for taking part in a mob attack, which claimed the life of an injured Syrian militant who was being transported to receive medical treatment in Israel. Abu Salah was serving a seven years and eight months sentence.

Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As “Goodwill Gesture” To Damascus (Photos)

Click to see full-size image.

Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As “Goodwill Gesture” To Damascus (Photos)

Click to see full-size image.

Last April, Israel released two other Syrian prisoners, including a Fateh activist who attempted to abduct an Israeli soldier, as a “goodwill gesture” following the repatriation of Baumel’s remains.

Russia, whose President is set to visit Tel Aviv later this year, likely played a key role in securing the release of the four Syrian prisoners.

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  • Assad must stay

    Howbout the next “goodwill gesture” israel does is stop attacking syria? Thanks

    • Free man

      The Israelis say they only attack Iranians, Iranian militias and anyone trying to hit Israeli planes. This is probably the agreement with the Russians.
      Israelis will attack as long as they think there are Iranians or Iranian militias in Syria.
      This is a tragic situation for Syria and Syrians.

      • Ricky Miller

        No, the tragic situation was that Syria needed their help in the first place. Why? Because the United States, Turkey, the Gulf States and the UK decided to arm and support Jihadi street gangs inside Syria in a UN Charter violating effort to overthrow the Syrian government. Several hundred thousand Syrians have been killed, entire communities have been destroyed and millions of Syrians are living as refugees. This illegal hybrid war involves the shipping in to Syria of several tens of thousands of foreign fighters and if they go away there will be no need for IRGC or Shia militias inside Syria. They can be replaced by Iranian, Chinese and Russian construction companies helping Syrians rebuild Syria. Just to set the record straight.

        • Concrete Mike

          Nice verbal bitch slap there, a solid assesment.

          Too bad your wasting your breath on the troglodyte called free man, MKO peice of shit he is.

  • Free man

    Obviously the Israelis are responding to Putin’s request.

  • verner

    don’t be led astray – this is nothing. what counts is that all squatters are evicted from palestine and when that happens you have every reason to cheer and start a world wide anti-zionistic day of celebration. meanwhile support palestine, support bds and work against israel everywhere. lets say, no jew across the bridges!!

  • gustavo

    Good will gesture would be the return of Goland Hights to Syria.

  • Vitex

    Is it just me, or does it look like Israel is shitting itself?