Baumel asks Assad to assist in finding MIA son

When MK Taleb a-Sanaa meets Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, he intends to hand Assad a letter written by Yona Baumel asking the Syrian president's assistance in finding Baumel's son Zachary, who has been missing in action since the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yakoub. To the chagrin of Interior Minister Ophir Paz-Pines, a-Sanaa departed for Syria on Tuesday without receiving the necessary governmental permission required when visiting an enemy country. A-Sanaa received an invitation from the Syrian parliament last week to visit Damascus. Baumel learned of the visit from a reporter, and on Tuesday night faxed the MK a letter to give to Assad. Ever since the fateful day in June 1982 when the Baumels were informed that their son Zachary along with soldiers Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz went missing in the battle, they have spared no effort to determine their son's fate. "We have information that Zach is being held on the Syrian-Iraqi border. We have known for some years, but because of the unrest in the area, it is difficult to mount an operation. We hope that Assad will assist us for humanitarian reasons," he told The Jerusalem Post. Baumel, exhausted and in ill health, hopes the Syrian president will agree to assist them. "We know we are out of step with the government, even the army doesn't know what is going on, the security services have bungled the entire affair completely," he said. The letter was just one more attempt to secure news of their son, he said, adding, "We have nothing else to lose by it."