Israeli woman who crossed into Syria being repatriated with Russian help - Netanyahu

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli woman was being repatriated early on Friday with Russian help after having crossed into Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israel and Syria are enemies in a decades-old standoff.

On Thursday, the Israeli military said it had sent back across the Golan Heights armistice line two Syrian shepherds who had been detained in a security operation. Israeli media said their return appeared to be part of a prisoner swap.

The woman had walked into Syrian-controlled territory from the Golan, Israeli media said. Full details on her identity and motives were not immediately published.

In his statement, Netanyahu said only that she had gone over the border "a few days ago" and been "held by the Syrians". He thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Damascus, for helping secure her return.

Israeli media said Netanyahu aides had flown to Moscow on Thursday to bring the woman back.

On Wednesday, Syrian state media said Russia was mediating a swap whereby Israel would release two jailed Syrians in exchange for the Israeli citizen.

Syrian state media described the two as residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan, where many Druze Arabs identify with Syria. Israeli media said two Golan residents imprisoned for security offenses had been offered release by Israel, but had balked at its insistence that they be deported to Damascus.

(Reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Howard Goller)