Syria (archive image)
Syria (archive image) REUTERS

A major breakthrough has been reached Thursday in negotiations between Israel and Syria for the return of an Israeli woman held captive in Syria.

The talks, which are being brokered by Russia, could be completed as early as Thursday night, potentially leading to the release of the Israeli national being held captive in Syria by the end of the week.

Under the tentative arrangement, Israel is expected to release two Syrian prisoners in exchange for the return of an Israeli national, a 22-year-old woman from the haredi city of Modi’in Illit, who accidently crossed the frontier from Israel into Syria in the Golan Heights recently.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the deal was being held up by the two Syrian prisoners, who were said to be refusing to return to Syria.

The two Syrian prisoners are Nihal al-Maqt and Dhiab Qahmuz. Al-Maqt was convicted of incitement in 2017. She told Syrian Al-Ikhbariya TV that she has been released from house arrest and that she is "now free in my homeland.”

Al-Maqt said that soldiers came to her house to inform her of the negotiations between Jerusalem and Damascus to secure her release and told her that she would be freed from house arrest if she relocated to Syria. However, she asked to be allowed to remain in the Golan Heights, a request which she says was granted.

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