Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As Indicative Of Goodwill’
Israel Releases Two Syrian Prisoners As Indicative Of Goodwill’ Israel has released two Syrian prisoners as a “gesture of goodwill” 9 months after the handover of the body of a soldier missing since the 1980s.
US-born tank commander Petty Officer Senior Sergeant Zechariah Baumel went missing during the Lebanon War in 1982, Baumel’s body was found years later.
The body was sent to Israel in April 2019 with the help of Russia.
The repatriation of bodies rarely occurs between Syria and Israel, which have not signed any peace agreements.
Both of the freed Syrians were residents of a Druze village in the Golan Heights. Much of the Golan Heights has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Amal Abu Saleh was sentenced to 7 years and 8 months in prison for the murder of a Syrian citizen and was expected to be released in 2023.
Makat Sudki was also sentenced to 11 years in prison for “betrayal, squeal, support for terrorism and communication with an enemy organization”. Sudki was released from prison in 2012 after 27 years in prison.
Who was Zachary Baumel?
Zechariah Baumel was one of five soldiers who disappeared in the Bekaa Valley on 11 June 1982 during the Battle of Sultan Jacob between Israel and Syria.
Years later, two of the captured soldiers returned to their homeland during the exchange of prisoners in Syria and the Palestinian People’s Liberation Front.
Zechariah Baumel and two other non-commissioned officers could not be located despite the efforts of Israeli authorities.
For 30 years, there had been contradictory reports of the whereabouts of these three soldiers.
In 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in locating missing soldiers.
Russia is the greatest ally of Syrian President Bashar Asad.
A Russian military spokesman said last year that the remains of Baumel were “at certain coordinates in Syria”.