Israel frees 2 Syrian prisoners after return of soldier’s remains
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Israel frees 2 Syrian prisoners after return of soldier’s remains

The two prisoners, Zeidan Tawil and Khamis al-Ahmad, arrived on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after being released on Sunday, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported. SANA also published a photograph of the two men, one of them flashing a victory sign from inside a vehicle. It also posted a brief video of the men shortly after they were handed over to Syrian authorities. The Israeli regime claimed that Khamis had been jailed in 2005 after trying to infiltrate an Israeli army base, and Taweel in 2008 for drug smuggling. Israel agreed to release the prisoners after Russian mediators reportedly facilitated the return of the remains of soldier Zachary Baumel earlier this month. Baumel had gone missing during a battle between the Israeli army and Syrian forces during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Syrian soldiers fought against Israel in a battle on June 10-11 of that year in the Lebanese village of Sultan Yacoub, near the Syrian border. Some 20 Israeli troops were killed. Baumel and two other soldiers had since been listed as missing and presumed killed. The Israeli regime has waged three wars on Lebanon — in 1982, 2000, and 2006. It has also carried out assassinations on Lebanese territory. Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of its 1967 Six-Day War with Arab countries, which also saw the regime occupy the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip. Tel Aviv unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

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