Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the assistance in returning an Israeli citizen from Syria.
“Several days ago, a young Israeli woman crossed the border with Syria. I had two conversations with my friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin. I have asked him to assist in returning her, and he acted. I would like to thank him for once again supporting us in returning our citizens to Israel,” Netanyahu said in a televised address posted in social networks on late Thursday.
The Israeli citizen was released as part of the Russian-mediated prisoners’ swap, under which Israel freed three Syrians.
“Israel has always done and will always do everything possible to return our citizens home,” Netanyahu added.
Syrian news agency SANA reported earlier that the country held negotiations with Israel on a Russian-brokered prisoner swap deal: “operations are underway to liberate Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan from prisons of the Israeli occupation. The swap process is taking place through Russia’s mediation to free the Syrians, Nihal al-Maqt and Dhiyab Qahmuz in exchange, during which a young Israeli woman will be released.”
In April 2019, Russia, which plays a key role in settling the deep-rooted crisis in Syria for years, mediated another prisoner swap operation between the two countries, during which the body of Zachary Baumel, an Israel Defense Forces’ soldier who was killed in the 1982 Sultan Yacoub battle, was returned in exchange for the release of prisoners.