The Israeli government on Thursday approved the release of two Syrian prisoners, Amal Abu Saleh and Sudki Al-Makat, the latter known as the oldest Syrian prisoner in Israel. Their release is a goodwill gesture for the return of the remains of Zechariah Baumel.
Baumel was an American-Israeli soldier who lost contact with his unit in the June 10-11 1982 battle of Sultan Yacoub of the Lebanon War. On April 3, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian army, in coordination with the Syrian military, had found Baumel’s remains, which were handed over to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an official ceremony in Moscow.
The Israel Prison Service announced that following the government decision and in coordination with the IDF, the criminal prisoner Amal Abu Saleh would be released Thursday and security prisoner Sedqi Al-Makat on Friday, both before the conclusion of their prison terms.
Abu Saleh was released from the Hermon prison and Al-Makat from the Ketziot prison.
Syrian news agency SANA on Sunday reported that the “Dean of the Syrian and Arab captives in the Israeli occupation jails Sedqi al-Maqat” last Sunday sent a cable of condolences from inside his prison in “the occupied Palestinian territories” to his family in the “occupied Syrian Golan” on the “martyrdom of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the Commander of Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).”
“Al-Maqat saluted all the heroes of the resistance axis, affirming that resistance is our option to liberate our occupied territories in Syria and Palestine and to restore our usurped rights,” SANA reported.
Sedqi Al-Makat, 53, is a resident of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. He was serving an 11-year sentence starting in 2015 for treason, spying, support for terrorism and contact with a hostile organization. He was sentenced to remain in prison until 2026.
This is Al-Makat’s second arrest. Earlier, he served 27 years in prison for security offenses, illegal association, possession of weapons and more. He was released in August 2012. He is a staunch supporter of the Assad regime, Hezbollah and Iran. After his 2012 release, he returned to supporting terrorist organizations. At the beginning of 2014, he began spying on the IDF, gathering information and photographing the movement of troops in the Golan Heights.
Amal Abu Saleh, 26, also a resident of Majdal Shams, was sentenced to 7 years and eight months in prison for killing a Syrian civilian. His sentence would have concluded in 2023. This was his first prison sentence.