Russia mediating Israeli-Syrian prisoner swap - Syrian state media

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Russia is mediating a deal for the release of an Israeli girl who accidentally crossed into Syria, in exchange for two Syrians held by Israel, Syrian state media said on Wednesday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the report by SANA news agency during an interview with Israel's Army Radio, but said he was using his connections with Russia's president to deal with a 'life-saving situation'. The report came a day after Israel's cabinet met in special session to discuss what officials said was a humanitarian issue in which Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was involved.

Reuters February 18, 2021 00:10:25 IST
Russia mediating Israeli-Syrian prisoner swap - Syrian state media

Russia mediating IsraeliSyrian prisoner swap  Syrian state media

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Russia is mediating a deal for the release of an Israeli girl who accidentally crossed into Syria, in exchange for two Syrians held by Israel, Syrian state media said on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the report by SANA news agency during an interview with Israel's Army Radio, but said he was using his connections with Russia's president to deal with a "life-saving situation".

The report came a day after Israel's cabinet met in special session to discuss what officials said was a humanitarian issue in which Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was involved.

SANA said that the two Syrians held by Israel were from the Golan Heights, part of which was captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Israeli girl crossed into the area of Quneitra in Syria, in the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan, and was arrested by Syrian authorities, SANA said.

"I am using my personal connections with President (Vladimir) Putin to solve the problem. We are in the middle of sensitive contacts," Netanyahu told Army Radio. "We are acting discreetly and responsibly to handle the matter, and I believe we will solve it."

The Israel Prisons Service did not respond to a request for comment.

After SANA published its report, Israel's Kan public radio said Russian mediation was still underway and a plane was carrying Israel's national security adviser back from talks in Moscow.

Over the past two years, Russia has helped secure the release of four Syrians held by Israel in exchange for the return of the body an Israeli soldier declared missing after a 1982 tank battle with Syrian forces in Lebanon.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai, Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv and Maayan Lubell and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Peter Graff)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.