Israel releases Druze spy to Syria | News | DW | 10.01.2020

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Israel releases Druze spy to Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has described the move as a "political gesture of goodwill." As part of a Moscow-brokered deal, Syria had returned the remains of an Israeli soldier who went missing during a 1982 battle.

Israel on Friday said it released two prisoners to Syria, including one who was imprisoned for espionage.

Their release was part of a Russia-brokered deal that saw Damascus return the remains of an Israeli soldier who had gone missing in 1982 during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub between Israel and Syria in the Lebanon War.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the prisoners were released as a "political gesture of goodwill" for the return of the Israeli soldiers' remains.

Read more: Golan Heights: Why it matters to US, Israel and Syria

Map showing Golan Heights

Sidqi al-Maqt, a resident of the annexed Golan Heights and a member of the Druze community, was imprisoned in 2015 for treason and spying on behalf of the Syrian regime.

Amal Abu Salah, another Golan resident, was jailed for killing a Syrian national who had crossed the Israeli border.

More than 20,000 Druze remain in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights, many of whom still consider themselves Syrian.

Read more: The Druze: The Middle East's most persecuted people?

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The significance of the Golan Heights

ls/dr (AFP, EFE)