Visnews cameraman, Martin Fletcher, has taken the first publicly released film of Syrian prisoners-of-war held in Israel since the October Arab-Israeli conflict.
Visnews cameraman, Martin Fletcher, has taken the first publicly released film of Syrian prisoners-of-war held in Israel since the October Arab-Israeli conflict. The 390 prisoners appear to be healthy and comfortable. They are living in a converted British-built fort.
This evidence that the prisoners are in good shape comes at a time when there is increasing anxiety over the well-being of Israeli prisoners, because the Syrians are still refusing to hand over a list of prisoners of war. The Israelis have said they will not open negotiations on disengagement along the Golan Heights until a list of prisoners has been published and Red Cross inspectors have looked at them.
The Syrians have issued complaints that their prisoners were being badly treated. But there was no evidence of this. Thee sleep in 100-bunk dormitories and organise their own lives, including the preparation of meals.
SYNOPSIS: This is the first film of the four hundred Syrian prisoners-on-war hold in Israel, since the October Arab-Israeli conflict. It was taken on Monday by Visnews cameraman, Martin Fletcher.
The prisoners appear to be healthy and comfortable living in a converted fort built by the British in the late 1940s. Syria has accused Israel of violating the Geneva conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war, but on Monday there was no evidence of any maltreatment.
This evidence of the well-being of the Syrian prisoners comes at time when there is increasing concern about Israeli prisoners in Syria.
Although the Israelis have published lists of Syrian prisoners, the Syrians have refused to do the same. The Syrians have been urged to publish the lists by the United States, the Soviet Union and other Arab countries. But they have said they will not do so until the Israelis allow expelled villagers to return to their homes on the Golan Heights. Thousands were driven out during the recent fighting.
The Israelis on the other hand say that they will not enter into negotiations about disengagement on the Golan Heights until the prisoner lists have bene published. This deadlock means that the Syrian prisoners are mouldering in captivity long after the Egyptiane had returned home.
Prospects for their release become brighter on Sunday when it was announced that five Arab heads of state, including President Assad of Syria, would shortly meet in Cairo. Diplomat observers believe that President Assad will be offered full arab support over disengagement on the Golon Heights.
Previously President Assad had facod the possibility that he would have to deal with the Israelis alone after Egypt and israel arranged a disengagement pact. The Arabs can still maintain pressure through the embargo on oil exports to the United States.
Meanwhile the Syrian prisoners of war continue their captive existence. Although they are closely guarded they largely organise their day-to-day existence themselves under the leadership of their non-commissioned officers. They cook for themselves from provisions supplied by the Israelis.