Informed sources in Tel Aviv confirmed on Friday that there is a secret agreement between Syria and Israel as part of the prisoner swap deal that was completed on Friday.
The claims of a secret deal were reported after two Syrian shepherds were exchanged for an Israeli woman under a prisoner exchange deal on Thursday between Israel and Syria, mediated by Russia.
Details of the deal were barred from publication by the military censor, however, sources in Tel Aviv said the deal might be linked to COVID-19 vaccines.
Israel’s Kan channel said the Israeli government has unanimously approved to pay an “extra price” for the Syrians to secure the release of the Israeli female.
“The price is not related to freeing Syrian hostages,” the news channel said.
“Syria needs the vaccine and Israel has an excess of it,” the sources noted, refusing to provide additional details.
Also, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the deal included securing the return of the Israeli who crossed the border into Syria, in addition to an unusual agreement that was not disclosed because the matter would be seen as deeply controversial to the Israeli public.
Also on Friday, Knesset member Ahmad Tibi wrote made statements over issue on his Twitter account.
“Last week, I raised in the Knesset a demand to allow the entrance of thousands of vaccines to Gaza and to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank from the large inventory that Israel has (which is the responsibility of an occupying force). Did I need to wait for a Jewish woman to cross into Gaza so that [Palestinians] could get a vaccine?” Tibi wrote.
On February 2, the the 25-year-old Israeli woman crossed the border into Syria in the foothills of Mount Hermon, an area where there is minimal fencing and spotty surveillance camera coverage.
This was not the woman’s first time attempting to cross Israel’s borders to enter neighboring countries.