The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have abducted a Syrian shepherd near the Israeli-Syrian contact line line in the Golan Heights.
According to a number of Syrian sources, including the Syrian Arab News Agency, the incident took place on February 28. The shepherd was moving his herd on the separation line when he was apprehended by an IDF patrol.
Local sources identified the shepherd as Mohamad Jasim al-Mohamad from al-‘Asha, a small town located right next to the separation line.
The IDF is yet to comment on the Syrian reports. Tel Aviv usually announces any arrests made on frontlines with Syria or Lebanon.
Earlier this year, the IDF abducted two Syrian shepherds – Muhammad Ahmad Hussein and Tariq Ghassab al-Obeidan, near the separation line. Both were freed last month in a prisoners swap deal brokered by Russia.
The deal also saw Israel releasing Syrian anti-occupation activists Nihal Almukt and Syria releasing an Israeli girl who entered the country under unknown circumstances.
Some Israeli sources attempted to justify the recent abduction of Syrian shepherds by claiming that they were spying for the Syrian intelligence, or even for Hezbollah. These allegations remain unproven. Tel Aviv may be abducting these locals to use them as pawns in future deals with Damascus.
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