Syria’s Information Minister Imad Sarah said that his country does not have any information about the remains of US-born Israel soldier, Zachary Baumel, nor about the operation that led to the recovery of the remains.
“The Syrian state has no clue about the remains of any Israeli soldier anywhere in Syria, if any, it would have acted according to its national interests, and that what it used to do,” Sarah told the Syrian state TV over the phone on April 4.
The Syrian minister went on to say that some armed groups might have cooperated with Israel on this case and helped it recover the body of the soldier without the Syrian state approval.
Baumel and two other Israeli soldiers, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, went missing during the battle of Sultan Yacoub on June 10 of 1982. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) killed 20 Israeli soldiers during the battle and captured several Israeli tanks, one of them is believed to be Bumel’s tank.
The Israeli military announced on April 3 that the remains of Baumel were recovered from Syria in in a complex and secret operation known as “Operation Bittersweet Song.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russian and Syria forces played a role in the operation, contrary to Sarah’s claim.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow on April 4 to thank Putin personally. The Israeli PM also attended a ceremony that was held in the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense of Russia on the honor of Baumel, before returning with the remains to Israel.