Prisoner swap said snagged: 2 Golan residents refuse to leave Israel for Syria

Jerusalem is reportedly ready to deport the two security prisoners in return for release of Israeli woman held by Damascus; officials believe matter will be resolved in days

Nihal Al-Maqt, a Syrian woman held by Israel, as shown in Syrian media on February 17, 2021 (Channel 12 screenshot)

A Russian-brokered prisoner exchange between Israel and Syria is being held up by the refusal of two Syrian security prisoners in the Jewish state to be deported to Damascus, Israeli officials told Hebrew media Wednesday.

Israel is seeking the release of an Israeli woman who recently crossed the border and was arrested. The woman, who hasn’t been identified, is reportedly a 25-year-old from Modiin Illit who left the ultra-Orthodox community. It is unclear why she entered Syria.

In return for her release, Israel is expected to free incarcerated Golan Heights residents Nihal Al-Maqt and Dhiyab Qahmuz. However, the two are refusing to be sent to Syria as part of the deal, holding up the completion of the exchange, according to Hebrew media reports.

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