Syrian woman says she was released from house arrest in swap with Israeli

One of the two incarcerated residents of the Israeli Golan Heights involved in an alleged prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Syria says she has been released unconditionally from house arrest.

Israel and Syria are negotiating intensively for the release of an Israeli woman arrested by Syrian authorities after she entered Quneitra in southern Syria. Syria has demanded the release of two prisoners, Nihal al-Maqt and Dhiab Qahmuz.

Al-Maqt tells Syrian Al-Ikhbariya TV: “I am now free in my homeland.” Al-Maqt was convicted in 2017 by an Israeli court for incitement.

According to al-Maqt, she had already been released from prison. She was to complete her sentence under house arrest with very strict conditions.

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

“If I step a toe outside of my house, they can arrest me and put me back in prison,” al-Maqt says.

Several soldiers came to her house and offered to remove the conditions if she were to leave Israel for Damascus, al-Maqt claims.

Al-Maqt says that she refused, asking to be released unconditionally and allowed to remain in the Golan — a request, she says, which was granted.

Al-Maqt tells the broadcaster she salutes “President Bashar al-Assad.”

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