Russians Army Searching in Syria for Remains of Israeli Soldiers

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends an official Russian Defense Ministry ceremony, April 4, 2019, at which he receives the remains of IDF soldier Zachary Baumel’s personal effects. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

According to reports in Syrian media, Russian military personnel have begun excavating a cemetery in the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus in an attempt to locate the bodies of Israeli soldiers from the First Lebanon War. Nearly two years ago, the remains late Zechariah Baumel, z”l, who fell in the battle of Sultan Yacoub in that war, were returned to Israel.

Zecharia Baumel
L-R: Tzvi Feldman, Yehudah Katz, and Zecharia Baumel

Yehuda Katz, z”l, and Zvi Feldman, z”l, who were members of Baumel’s unit, are still classified as missing, and their burial place is unknown. Two days ago, the Russians turned the cemetery into a closed military area and began excavating the site. A special medical truck to remove DNA samples from the graves was on the scene, and several bodies were removed from the cemetery for testing.

The possibility of the return of another war casualty is thanks to the strengthening of relations between Israel and Russia, the Syrian source reported.

In April 2019, after 37 years of uncertainty about his fate, Israel received the body of Sergeant Zachary Baumel, z”l, who fell during the battle of Sultan Yacoub during the first Lebanon War. The Russians located the body with the assistance of the Syrian army. He was then buried on Mount Herzl in a special ceremony in the presence of the Prime Minister and President of the State.