Prisoner exchange in offing as Israeli girl wanders into Syria, sparking diplomatic incident

An Israeli girl reportedly wandered into Syrian territory. She will be exchanged for two Syrians held by Israel, Syria’s news agency says.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

An Israeli girl wandered into Syria by mistake. A prisoner exchange is being negotiated for her release, Syria’s official news agency SANA reports.

Two Syrians will be released as part of the deal, according to the news agency. “The two, Nihal al-Makt and Jiav Kahmoz, will be released from Israel as part of a prisoner exchange deal, and in return, an Israeli girl who entered Syria by mistake through Quneitra and was arrested by the Syrian security forces will be released,” SANA reports.

The news comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an urgent, classified meeting on Wednesday evening with senior government officials to discuss what was described as an urgent humanitarian issue in Syria.

The public was kept in the dark as to the subject of the meeting. Press speculated that it had to do with return of the bodies of Israeli war dead.

Russia previously helped mediate between Israel and Syria when in April 2019 it repatriated the body of IDF soldier Zachary Baumel, who was killed during the 1982 Lebanon War.

The SANA news agency says the two Syrians are natives of the Golan Heights. Nihal al-Makt comes from a family of a number of former prisoners, including her brother, who was released in an exchange of prisoners last year connected to the return of Baumel’s remains.

Israeli officials declined to comment. There was no immediate Russian comment.

AP contributed to this report.