Kissinger Delivers List of Syria’s Israeli POWs Kissinger pictured with PM Meir in 1974. Photo: UPI

February 27, 1974

U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrives in Tel Aviv from Damascus with a list of 65 Israeli prisoners held by Syria since the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, along with a promise from Syrian President Hafez al-Assad that the Red Cross will be allowed to visit the POWs. 

The list is one of Israel’s main preconditions for holding talks with Syria on a military disengagement agreement, similar to the negotiations Kissinger has mediated between Israel and Egypt. Kissinger went to Syria to procure concessions from Assad and received the list in part because Israel had agreed to cede control of the historic, heavily damaged Golan Heights city of Quneitra back to Syria.

Although the list clears the way for Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy and produces the desired disengagement agreement May 31, 1974, settlers destroy Quneitra to prevent its return to Syrian control.

The disengagement agreement has worked for more than 45 years to keep the Israeli and Syrian armies from fighting in the Golan Heights, despite their clashes in Lebanon and elsewhere.