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Russia completes search for Israel soldiers' remains in Syria's Yarmouk camp

Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz [Facebook]
Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz [Facebook]

Russian security forces have completed the search for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 in a cemetery near the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp outside the Syrian capital Damascus.

The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (ActionPal) said in a statement posted on social media that the camp's residents still cannot access the cemetery, designated a closed military zone by the Syrian regime.

Two Israeli soldiers, Tzvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz went missing in 1982 along with Zachary Baumel, whose remains were recovered and returned to Israel in 2019.

ActionPal quoted Palestinian human rights activists as saying that the Russian forces committed war crimes by exhuming dozens of bodies in the cemetery, adding that this is a flagrant violation of the sanctity and dignity of the dead.

READ: Israel to free two prisoners in return for soldier's remains

"It is illegal by law to exhume the graves of the dead without the written permission of their relatives," it added.

The statement noted that US media outlets have recently revealed that the Russian forces had transferred the remains of more than ten people from the Yarmouk camp cemetery to a forensic laboratory in Israel to confirm their identities.

The reports quoted a spokesman for the Israeli army as saying that the unidentified bodies are likely to be Palestinians, and "will be buried in a cemetery… within unknown graves and at a location that will not be revealed".

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