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Syria has erected buildings and created a park over the grave of Eli Cohen, a Mossad agent who was murdered 42 years ago in Damascus after being exposed as an Israeli spy, a former Syrian bureau chief said on Monday.
"He is buried in the area of al-Maza in Damascus, and over his grave are houses, roads and parks," Monjer Motsley, who worked with former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, said in an interview with the Al-Arabia Internet site. "Nobody is able to reach him."
In addition, Motsley said he spoke with Cohen after he was exposed as a spy and arrested. According to Motsley, Cohen expressed remorse for his acts.
"He said to me that he was not very good at spying, and that it was not his profession," Motsley said. "He said that he had never worked as a spy before with anybody - not with Israel and not with anybody else."
Motsley said the former Syrian president was suspicious of Cohen, and was not convinced by the cover story that Mossad agents had created for him - that he was a businessman who immigrated to Argentina.
"Hafez al-Assad, who was an intelligence officer, saw in his profile facial features of a Jew," Motsley said.
In addition, Motsley said al-Assad further suspected Cohen after the spy did not demonstrate a strong command of Islam. Motsley claimed that al-Assad requested from Cohen that he read the first passage of the Koran and recite the five basic statutes of Islam. When Cohen failed to show proficiency, al-Assad ordered an investigation.
Speaking on the damage the Israeli spy caused to Syrian security, Motsley claimed Cohen was unsuccessful at passing valuable information to his Mossad contacts.