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Israel and Syria close to completing prisoner exchange

The deal was held up on Wednesday when two Golan Heights residents refused to be sent to Syria. Israel released two shepherds on Thursday in a bid to finalize the transfer.

A Russian-mediated prisoner exchange between Israel and Syria came closer to completion on Thursday after Israel released two Syrian shepherds for crossing into the country illegally. Preparations are also underway to return an Israeli woman detained by Damascus.

Israel and Syria are holding indirect negotiations through Russia on three prisoners. Nahal al-Makat and Diab Kahamuz are Druze residents from the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Makat received a three-year suspended sentence in June. Kahamuz was charged in 2018 with helping an enemy of the state, drug offenses and more, and received a 14-year prison sentence.

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