A top Lebanese politician has criticized Russia for returning an Israeli tank three decades after the Syrian army seized it during a battle with the invading regime, calling the move an “insult” to Syria.
The leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), Walid Jumblatt, made the remarks in a message posted on his Twitter account on Monday, a few days after Russian President Vladimir Putin granted a request made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return the tank.
In June 1982, during a battle known as Battle of Sultan Yacoub, near Lebanon’s Bekka Valley, the invading Israeli troops suffered a crushing defeat by the Syrian army and lost some 30 troops and left behind eight M48A3 Magach-3 tanks.
Later on, Syrian government sent one of the tanks to Russia, where it has been on exhibit in the Kubinka Tank Museum in Moscow.
“However, today Russian President Putin decided to give one of these tanks back to Israel. Syria gave this tank to Russia for the exchange of information. This is an insult to Syria, which is Russia’s ally,” Jumblatt stated.
“This is symbolic, and I remember at the time we were allies with the Syrians. The Sultan Yacoub battle changed the course of history during the Lebanese war.”
During the battle, three other Israeli soldiers went missing, whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
The Israeli regime waged its second war on Lebanon in 1982, known as the 1982 Lebanon War, during a time when Lebanon was suffering an internal multi-faceted conflict.
The Syrian government intervened in favor of Lebanon. The PSP also sided with the Syrians and Palestinians in the war. The Battle of Sultan Yacoub was part of the Lebanon War.