Russia denies taking body of Israel spy from Syria

Russia denies taking body of Israeli spy out of Syria
2 min read
18 April, 2019
Russia's foreign ministry has rejected claims that the country helped to remove Israeli spy Eli Cohen's remains from Syria.
Eli Cohen was executed in 1965 after being discovered by Syrian officials [Getty]

Russia's foreign ministry on Wednesday rejected claims that officials had taken the remains of Israeli spy Eli Cohen out of Syria, where he was executed more than five decades ago.

Cohen was tried and hanged for espionage after successfully infiltrating the top levels of the Syrian regime, becoming the chief advisor to Syria's defence minister.

The information Cohen obtained was seen as playing a key role in Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Syria, which has never signed a peace treaty with Israel, has failed to respond over the years to Israeli requests to repatriate Cohen's remains on humanitarian grounds.

Israeli media reported earlier this week that a Russian delegation had removed Cohen's remains from Syria.

Russia is a key ally of the Syrian regime.

The Russian foreign ministry on Wednesday put out a statement "resolutely refuting" the claim, which it described as a "provocation", according to AP.

The Israeli media should show a more "accurate, professional and honest approach to coverage of such sensitive issues", it said.

This follows the return of the body of Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel from Syria to Israel two weeks ago.

Russia facilitated the return of Baumel, who had been listed as missing along with two other Israeli soldiers after a deadly battle with Syrian forces in a Lebanese village during the 1982 Lebanon war.