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Battle of Sultan Yacoub

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Battle of Sultan Yacoub
Part of the 1982 Lebanon War
Tank Museum, KubinkaDSC02358.JPG
A captured Israeli ERA-equipped M48 Patton tank on display at the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia, very likely given to Russia by Syria after the battle.
Date June 10, 1982
Location Near Sultan Yacoub, Bekaa Lebanon
Result Tactical Syrian victory
 Israel  Syria
Commanders and leaders
Israel Brig. Gen. Gioria Lev Syria Gen. Ali Mohammad Habib Mahmood
Casualties and losses
30 killed
3 missing
10 tanks lost
3 APCs destroyed

The Battle of Sultan Yacoub was a battle between Syria and Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War, which occurred near the village of Sultan Yacoub in the Lebanese Bekaa, close to the borders with Syria.


At the beginning of the invasion Israeli Brig. Gen. Giora Lev’s 90th Division passed through Marjayoun and took up positions around Kaukaba and Hasbaiya. From there it began to push the Syrian 76th and 91st Armored Brigade, of the 10th Division, north up the Bekaa Valley towards Joub Jannine.[1] [2] The Syrians made skillful use of their Gazelle helicopters to support the delaying action, firing HOT missiles into the long columns of Israeli vehicles stretched out along the roads.[1][2] [3] Israel countered with its own Cobra helicopters, used against both ground targets and the Gazelles.[1][2]


On June 10 the Israeli 90th Division was rushed forward in order to gain as much ground as possible before the cease-fire came into effect. Late that night most of its 362nd Battalion as well as Pluga Kaph from the 363rd Battalion fought its way through Syrian infantry in the village of Sultan Yacoub only to become cut off and surrounded. At dawn, the Israelis broke out and escaped to the south with the support of 11 battalions of artillery firing both at the Syrians and in a box barrage around their own troops. In the six-hours ordeal the Israeli Army lost eight tanks and about 30 killed.[3] The Israelis failed to destroy the disabled M48A3 Magach-3 tanks they left behind and they were recovered the next day by the Syrians.[1]


Thirty IDF soldiers died in the battle, which was viewed as an Israeli intelligence failure.[3][2] Three IDF soldiers remain missing in action: Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman. The three soldiers were captured and were paraded through Damascus held on top of their captured tank. Time magazine reporter Dean Brelis testified to having seen the three captives alive at the time.[4]


The battle is still widely commemorated and remembered in Syria. A large painting depicting the battle is displayed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Damascus, among other paintings depicting other significant battles in Arab and Syrian history,[5] and one of the Israeli M48 Patton tanks captured during the battle is now on display at the October War Panorama in Damascus, with another on display in the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia, most likely donated by Syria due to their extremely-close bilateral ties.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Solley, Maj. George C. (May 10, 1987). The Israeli Experience In Lebanon, 1982-1985. War Since 1945 Seminar. Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Command and Staff College. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Cooper, Tom; al-Abed, Yaser (September 26, 2003). "Syrian Tank-Hunters in Lebanon, 1982". Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Davis, Maj. M. Thomas (April 1, 1985). Lebanon 1982: The Imbalance of Political Ends and Military Means. War Since 1945 Seminar. Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Command and Staff College. 
  4. ^ Бой у Султан-Яакуб Archived 2015-01-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Monuments – Mahmoud Hammad". 

Coordinates: 33°36′55″N 35°51′10″E / 33.61528°N 35.85278°E / 33.61528; 35.85278

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