Israel to release 2 Syrian citizens

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 28, 2019
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Israel will release two Syrian prisoners after the remains of an Israeli soldier, who has been missing since 1982, were returned to Israel earlier in April, an Israeli government official said on Saturday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Xinhua that two Syrian nationals imprisoned in Israel would be released.

He did not elaborate on the identities of the prisoners or the date of their release.

His remark came after Russian President Vladimir Putin's Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev told Russia's RT broadcaster that Israel has agreed to a swap deal to release Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel, an Israeli soldier who died during Israel's invasion to Lebanon in 1982.

Baumel's remains were found in a cemetery in Syria and were brought back to Israel about four weeks ago.

Lavrentiev said that the return of Baumel's remains, brokered by Russia, "was not a one-sided move" but part of a swap deal. He added that Israel has agreed to release two Syrian prisoners in the near future.

The Israeli official denied a swap deal, saying that the two Syrian citizens will be released "as a goodwill gesture" and the move was not agreed ahead of the return of Baumel's remains.

Baumel went missing during a battle in Lebanon along with two of his fellow tank mates.

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