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Assad regime never sought to regain Golan: Opposition

Israel occupied the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War

March 24, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Israeli soldiers at an army base in the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights on 7 July 2018 [JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images]

The Syrian regime has never attempted to regain the occupied Golan Heights from Israel, an opposition spokesman said Sunday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Naji Mustafa, spokesman for the opposition National Liberation Front (NLF), said the Syrian regime has used the Golan Heights issue to “suppress any potential uprisings in the country”.

“[Late President] Hafez Assad has sold the Golan Heights to Israel under a secret agreement,” he claimed.

He said the current regime of Bashar Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez in ruling Syria, has never attempted to politically defend the Golan issue in international arenas.

“The regime did not want to regain the Golan at any time,” Mustafa said. “Rather, it used the issue as a ‘foreign threat’ against its people.”

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump said it was time for the US to fully recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Read: Syria vows to recover Golan as Trump policy shift draws criticism

Dozens of Druze Arabs, some carrying Syrian flags and pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, gathered on the Golan Heights on Saturday to protest US President Donald Trump’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the territory. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Israel has no rights over the occupied Golan Heights, while the European Union (EU) said that it will not follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump regarding the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

Israel occupies roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights as a de facto result of the conflict. It moved to formally annex the territory in 1981 – an action unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution opposing Israel’s continued occupation of the Golan Heights.

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