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Report: Israel to purchase vaccines for Syria in prisoner exchange deal

According to foreign publications, Israel has agreed to purchase Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines for Syria, as part of a Russia-mediated deal to release an Israeli woman who crossed the border into Syria.
A Druze woman gets vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Kupat Holim Meuhedet clinic in the Druze village of Ein Quniya in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on January 13, 2021. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Reports claim that Israel has agreed to purchase an unknown number of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine doses for use in Syria as part of the deal for the return of an Israeli woman held by the Syrian regime. The woman had apparently crossed the border into Syria two weeks ago, and was detained by local authorities. Since then, she has returned to Israel, in an elaborate Russia-mediated deal. She arrived to Israel via Moscow on Friday, Feb. 19. Netanyahu thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for facilitating the deal, without entering into details.

It is now known that the woman crossed the border into Syria overnight Feb. 2, entering the Druze village of Khader, where she was apprehended on suspicion of being a spy and handed over to Syrian intelligence. It seems that the Syrian authorities quickly realized she was not a spy, but simply an Israeli civilian with personal issues. Reportedly, she had posted on her Facebook account a hint over her intention to cross the border, stating “No fence will stop me.”

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