BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:25 A.M.) – Israel recently agreed to release a number of Syrian citizens after the remains of IDF sergeant Zachary Baumel were returned from Syria, Russian Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said in the Kazakh capital on Saturday, following the 12th intra-Syrian peace talks.
“Israel has taken a decision, which will take some time, to release a number of the Syrian citizens who are in Israeli jails,” Lavrentiev said.
On Sunday, the Israeli authorities released two Syrian citizens as part of the deal.
According to the Israeli media, the two Syrian men were identified as Khamis Ahmad of the Yarmouk Camp District, District and Zidan Tweil of Hader, Al-Quneitra.
Ahmad, a Palestinian national, was arrested in 2005 after attempting to attack an IDF base; he was scheduled to be released in 2023.
Tweil was arrested in 2008 for drug-related offenses along the border of the occupied-Golan Heights; he was scheduled to be released this July.
The release of these first prisoners was under the supervision of the Russian military and part of the original deal to return the remains of Zachary Baumel.
Speaking of Baumel, whose body has been missing since 1982, Lavrentiev said that Russia took the opportunity to send his remains back to Israel. “It should be considered a humanitarian act,” the Russian envoy said.
Tank commander Zachary Baumel’s body was delivered to Israel earlier this month. He was allegedly killed in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub between Syria and Israel in Lebanon in 1982.