Peacekeepers at Golan Heights: Syria welcomes Russia's offer


Syria welcomes Russia's offer to replace Austrian peacekeepers at Golan Heights


DAMASCUS, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Foreign Ministry hailed Friday the Russian offer to replace Austrian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights after Austria decided to pull out its troops due to the rising tension on the Syrian borders with the Israeli-occupied territory.

While lamenting Austria's decision to withdraw its 377 UN peacekeepers from the occupied Golan Heights due to the tension between rebels and government troops in the area, the ministry hailed Moscow's offer to replace the Austrian UN troops, pledging full cooperation in that regard.

On Thursday, the Syrian rebels briefly overran a border crossing near the Golan Heights, but the Syrian troops later clashed with them and recaptured the border point in al-Quneitra city.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said the battles for controlling the border point at the Golan Heights pushed them to withdraw their troops. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he regretted such a decision by Austria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his country was ready to replace the Austrian peacekeepers with Russian ones " if the regional powers show interest and if the UN secretary general asks us to do so."

"Given the complicated situation in the Golan Heights, we could replace the leaving Austrian contingent in this region on the border between Israeli troops and the Syrian army," he said.

A total of 1,000 UN peacekeepers have been observing a four- decade-old ceasefire between Syria and Israel at the Golan Heights captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. But they have found themselves caught in the middle of violence between the Syrian troops and the rebels.

Over the past two months, a total of 25 Filipino peacekeepers had been kidnapped in two incidents by the rebels near the occupied Golan Heights.


Josephine Guerrero, spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping department, said that ‘while the offer was appreciated, the disengagement agreement and accompanying protocol do not allow the participation of troops from a permanent member of the UN Security Council’…

Latest News Syria: Russian peacekeepers to Golan Heights


Russia may send 300 peacekeepers to Golan Heights

Russia may dispatch around 300 peacekeepers to the Golan Heights to the zone of separation between Syria and Israel to replace the Austrian peacekeepers being withdrawn from there.

This was announced by Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, emerging from closed UN SC consultations on the peacekeeping mission of the UNDOF.

“A number of countries–UN Security Council members took note of our initiative, reiterating what we have already noted: that a concerted agreement of all interested sides is required”, - stressed Churkin.

According to him, UN legal advisers shall be looking into whether adoption of a special Security Council resolution is required for implementing Russia’s offer.

The fact is, the protocol of the disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria bars permanent members of the Security Council from the U.N. observer mission there.

Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_06_08/Russian-journalists-come-under-rebel-attack-in-Golan-Heights-0106/

Photo: Russian aid to Kenya


Latest News Syria: Syrian army - Golan Heights


Syrian Army recaptures key Golan Heights crossing

June 6, 2013

Syrian army troops have established control over a key crossing in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights shortly after it fell into the hands of foreign-backed militants.

On Thursday, Syrian forces liberated the Quneitra Crossing - situated between Syria and the Golan Heights - after heavy clashes with anti-government gunmen. 

Earlier in the day, Israeli media reported that foreign-backed militants had seized the crossing. 

Meanwhile, Austria has announced that it will withdraw its peacekeepers from the UN monitoring force on the Golan Heights in wake of ongoing battles in the area. 

Austrians account for about 380 of the 1,000-strong United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), and their departure will deal a serious blow to the mission. 

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967, when it also took control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 

It annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, although the move was never recognized by the international community and was a violation of international law. 

The Israeli regime has used various means to help the foreign-sponsored militants in Syria, including the provision of medical assistance. 

Also on Thursday, the Syrian troops recaptured the town of al-Daba’a. This came after the Army liberated the strategic town of Qusayr on Wednesday following three weeks of fighting with the militants. 

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence. 

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. 




Latest News Syria: Golan Heights


Forty years on, people displaced from the Golan remain in waiting...

The situation of tens of thousands of Syrian Arabs displaced from the Golan Heights forty years ago is still far from resolved. They fled their HOMEs in disputed circumstances during the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel seized the Golan, a strategic strip of land overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee. Since then, Israel has prevented the displaced from returning to their HOMEs. In 1981, Israel formally annexed the area, but this annexation has not been recognised internationally. The Syrian government estimates that around 305,000 people remain displaced today, a figure which includes the descendants of those displaced in 1967. Forty years on, the Golan’s internally displaced population has largely integrated in their current places of residence across Syria. But while they do not face particular humanitarian risks, many continue to express a wish to return to the Golan. The issues of the restitution of their property and compensation for lost or destroyed property are also unresolved. A more immediate concern is that many displaced Syrians continue to be prevented from maintaining ties with their relatives living in the occupied Golan. Regular contact between Syrians living in Israeli-occupied Golan and their displaced family members is not possible, with the exception of specific cases facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.


Latest News Syria: Occupied Golan

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Cabinet: Golan is Basic Part of Syria

June 4, 2013

Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi reiterated that Syria, as government and people, will not abandon any tiny of the Syrian national soil, including the occupied Golan, appreciating the struggle and courage of the citizens in it against the flagrant practices of the Israeli occupation.

"Nowadays, we remember a painful anniversary; the aggression of June 5th when the Israeli entity occupied parts of Arab territories, among them the Syrian Golan which is considered a basic part of Syria," Al-Halqi said during a weekly Cabinet meeting.

He called on the Ministers to offer the best services to the citizens and providing them with the basic needs of water, electricity, communications and health. The Premier referred to the procedures taken by the government to support the Syrian pound in addition to improving the citizens' livelihood.

For his part, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem briefed the Cabinet on the latest developments on the international arena and its repercussions on the internal situation.

He affirmed the Syrian people's confidence that the solution to the crisis in Syria is by implementing the political program.




'Syria, a military obstacle to Israel' 

As a reminder:

November 2, 2010

‘IDF intelligence chief: Israel’s next war will see heavy casualties’

In farewell meeting at the Knesset, Gen. Amos Yadlin says next conflict will hit Israel far harder than recent wars in Lebanon and Gaza – and hints for first the time at Israeli involvement in a 2007 strike on a nuclear plant in Syria…

In a final meeting at the Knesset, outgoing Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin warned on Tuesday that Israel’s next war would be fought on several fronts – causing far heavier damage and casualties than other recent conflicts. A new war would be far deadlier than Israel’s last two, relatively short, conficts in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-9. Syria, particularly, posed a greated military obstacle to Israel than at any time in the past three decades, Yadlin said, having amassed advanced Russian-built antiaircraft missiles that seriously limited the operational freedom of the Israel Air Force. Yadlin also hinted at Israel’s involvement in attacking a Syrian nuclear facility in September 2007. That strike has been widely attributed to Israel, but the government has never officially taken responsibility for the operation. The veteran soldier, who turns 60 next year, told the committee that during his position as MI chief he had contended with two enemy nuclear programs – apparently a reference to Iran and Syria. Yadlin also warned of a growing threat from the Iranian nuclear program, saying Iran now had enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-intelligence-chief-israel-s-next-war-will-see-heavy-casualties-1.322484


Liberate the Golan from the Israeli Occupation !

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December 2, 2012

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed Syria’s firm determination to liberate the whole Golan till the line of June 4th, 1967 from the Israeli occupation and clear all its settlements in terms of the international law.

The UN General Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution on the Syrian Golan in which the Assembly re-called upon Israel to withdraw from the whole occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th, 1967 according to the UN Security Council resolutions in this regard.

110 countries voted in favor of the resolution while six countries voted against it.

Al-Jaafari expressed gratitude to the countries which voted in favor of the resolution, stressing Syria’s call for achieving just and comprehensive peace according to the international legitimacy resolutions, particularly the Security Council resolutions no. 242, 338 and 497, the land for peace principle and the Arab peace initiative.

He added that voting in favor of these resolutions with the overwhelming majority conveys a clear international message to Israel that the occupation, the killing and the policies of expansion, aggression, discrimination, establishing settlements, imposing fait accompli, and annexation of others’ territories by force are condemned and violate all international conventions, especially the UN Charter and the 4th Geneva Convention.

Al-Jaafari showed deep appreciation for adopting the resolution again and again since 1981 with the majority of votes which stresses the international community’s support to these resolutions and the member states’ commitment to the UN Charter goals and their rejection of foreign intervention, as well as their support to Syria’s right to restore its territories occupied by Israel since June 5th, 1967.

Al-Jaafari regretted that some countries which continue to talk about human rights and protecting the civilizations and moreover impose sanctions on Syria under such allegations abstained from voting in favor of resolutions on Syrian citizens under the occupation, while other countries voted against these resolutions which stress that these countries’ deeds do not match their words and they are mere political hypocrisy.

He pointed out that these countries deal with important issues such as the occupied Golan and Palestine based on double standards and complete bias to Israel and the logic of aggression in the international relations.

He stressed that the direct support of the aggressive Israeli policies by those who abstained or voted against the resolution on the Syrian Golan and Palestine encourage Israel to continue its occupation of the Arab territories, holding these countries responsible for the consequences of the continued Israeli occupation of the Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan.

Al-Jaafari said that “We convened here for the thousand time or maybe more to demand Israel to end its occupation of the Arab territories and halt its inhuman policies and violations of the international conventions, and to stop settlement expansion and the methodical killing acts against civilians in the occupied Arab territories”, adding that all these international calls did not make any progress in ending the Israeli occupation or its aggressive policies, rather the situation escalated as Israel continued to ignore the international legitimacy, the UN resolutions and all moral standards.

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN stressed that the way of the UN and the member states in dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict should not remain a routine or a solidarity act without serious steps that help yield real outcomes.

He added that Israel’s obstinacy and some countries’ support to it should not prevent the UN from carrying out its duties according to its charter and resolutions as such thing will lead to catastrophic consequences on the region and its people as it will undermine the United Nations.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that shifting the peace in the Middle East from the UN to the Quartet Committee didn’t serve it at all, but it shranked the role of the UN and paralyzed its referential role as the committee didn’t hold any meeting on the sidelines of the current session of the UN General Assembly or during the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza.

“More than 45 years have passed since Israel occupied the Syrian Golan, but all these years were not enough to force Israel to commit to the implementation of the UN resolutions connected with ending its occupation of the Syrian Golan, stopping its systematic violations of the Human rights and putting an end to its policy of terrorism, discrimination and suppressive arrest against the Syrian citizens in the Syrian Golan,” al-Jaafari said.

He added that Israel rejected handing the mines maps which it planted in the occupied Golan to the international organizations, which caused the killing of more than 726 Syrian citizens among them 227 child due to the explosion of the cluster bombs.

The Syrian envoy criticized the unlimited illegitimate immunity given by some countries to Israel as a green light which allowed the Israeli governors to escalate their aggression and commit their crimes against the Palestinian people.

Al-Jaafari held some countries which grant Israel immunity and protect it in the international circles and the UN Security Council, responsible for these crimes, asserting that these crimes uncover the double standards policy of these countries and their unprecedented hypocrisy regarding the protection of the civilians, enhancing the human rights, the commitment to the international law and the implementation of the UN resolutions.

The Syrian Permanent Representative to the UN concluded Syria’s statement as confirming that the just and comprehensive peace option will not be achieved except by the Israeli complete withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories and the establishment of the Palestinian independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, in addition to resolving the issue of the Palestinian refugees according to the UN resolution No. 194 based on the UN Security Council’s resolutions No. 242, 338 and 497 related to the occupied Syrian Golan.

The resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly condemned Israel’s refusal to abide by the UN Security Council resolution No. 497 for 1981 and stressed that Israel’s decision on December 14th, 1981 on imposing its power and rules on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and illegitimate.

The UN called upon Israel to cancel its decision and to withdraw from the Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th, 1967 in implementation of the UN relevant Security Council resolutions.

The resolution stressed that Israel’s continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and its annexation hinder the process of achieving just and comprehensive peace in the region.