An Iranian official on Sunday declared on Twitter that the Golan Heights controlled by Israel at their northern border could now be conquered by Syria, giving voice to some of Israel’s greatest concerns about Iranian and Syrian intentions in the strategic area. The tweet, originally posted in Arabic and translated by the Microsoft software on Twitter, included a map that specifically highlighted the Israeli-controlled Golan region and follows the Syrian regime’s recent victory over rebels on the Syrian side of the border.
“We congratulate the Syrian people and the Syrian armed Forces and the President of Syria on the occasion of the liberation of Quneitra from the terrorists of Nusra Front and Zionists,” tweeted Special Aide on International Affairs of the Islamic Parliament Hossein Amir Abdollahian, referring to the libel that Israel is actively assisting terrorist forces in Syria.
“This victory means that the liberation of the occupied Golan Heights can be achieved with the determination and will of the Syrians.”
Israel has repeatedly raised concerns about Iranian forces in Syria and lately emphasized the need to maintain the status quo in the north determined by the ceasefire that ended the last war between the Jewish state and Syria more than forty years ago.
Israel obtained the strategic Golan Heights from Syria in the defensive 1967 Six-Day War and Damascus has wanted to retake the region ever since. The Golan is critical to the defense of the north of Israel, as the Heights act as a wall shielding the low-lying Galilee region. Today, Israeli wineries, towns and more can be found in the Golan.
Just last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that his country would not allow Syria to violate the terms of the ceasefire between Israel and Syria, which includes a demilitarized zone between the nations. “Israel insists that [the 1974] Separation of Forces Agreement between it and Syria be honored as it was in the decades before the outbreak of civil war in Syria, and that Israel will continue to act against any attempt by Iran and its proxies to establish a military presence in Syria,” said Netanyahu on July 22 in comments released by his office.
Israel isn’t the only nation sounding the alarm about Iranian interference in Syria. An official in the United States State Department last week highlighted the danger posed by Iran in Syria, according to comments released by the Department.
“Syria has provided Iran an opportunity to expand its influence in order to threaten the security of Israel, Lebanon, and even other targets around the entire Mediterranean region,” said Yleem D.S. Poblete, assistant secretary of state in the Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.
Israel has dealt with repeated violations of their sovereignty along the northern border in recent months, including errant fire from the Syrian civil war, a Syrian fighter jet flying into Israeli airspace, and an Iranian drone armed for an attack that invaded Israel’s north.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 29, 2018)