Israel frees 2 Syrians after return of soldier’s remains
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has released two Syrian prisoners in what it says is a “goodwill gesture” following the repatriation of the remains of an Israeli soldier who went missing over 35 years ago.
Israel insists Sunday’s release was not a quid pro quo for the return of Zachary Baumel’s remains earlier this month.
Syrian state TV says the two prisoners, Zeidan Tawil and Khamis al-Ahmad, arrived on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing after being released.
Baumel went missing during the Sultan Yacoub battle between the Israeli army and Syrian forces during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Russian mediators facilitated the return of his remains shortly before this month’s Israeli election.
The Syrians were arrested for drug charges and infiltration attempts.