Syria pledges to restore Golan amid international criticism of Trump’s statements

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Syrian government vowed on Friday to restore the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, while Damascus’s allies and rivals condemned US President Donald Trump’s comments that it was time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Trump’s comments on Thursday represented a radical shift in US policy on the status of the territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Amid escalating rejection of the US move, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Beirut on Friday after a visit to Israel. Pressure is expected on the government to curb the influence of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.

The announcement is the latest in a series of steps that have fueled anger among Arab countries and some are allies of Washington.

It came after the United States recognized in December 2017 Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision that also drew international criticism as the status of the city is still at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad in the war, said Trump’s comments threatened to destabilize the region and expressed the hope that the statements would be mere declarations.

Iran, Assad’s main ally in the region, has denounced the statements as illegal and unacceptable. Both Russia and Iran have troops in Syria.

“The personal decisions taken by Trump … will lead to a crisis in the region,” the foreign ministry spokesman said.

Turkey, an ally of Washington and one of Damascus’ rivals, also criticized the move and said it was pushing the Middle East to the brink of a new crisis and that the occupation of the Golan could not be legitimized.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for his comments, which came “at a time when Iran is trying to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel,” and analysts say the remarks could help Netanyahu in the midst of a heated battle for reelection.

The Syrian Government stated that the Golan was “an integral part of the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and that its restoration from Israeli occupation by all means guaranteed by international law remains a priority in the Syrian national policy and that it is an eternal right that will not be subject to compromise or compromise.

“The US administration does not have any right or mandate to decide the fate of the occupied Syrian Arab Golan,” said the Syrian Foreign Ministry statement, published by the Syrian Arab News Agency. “Any recognition or any action involving aggression against Syria’s right to regain it and sovereignty over it is illegal. It has no effect. ”

The Golan Heights, which have been peaceful for decades, since the signing of the 1974 disengagement agreement, have become a hot spot in regional tensions during the Syrian war. In May, Israel accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of firing rockets into its territory from the Syrian side of the border, which is set for a truce.

Israel launched a large number of air strikes on what it described as Iranian-backed targets in Syria and demanded that Russia keep its forces allied with Tehran away from the border.

The Syrian side of the border has been under the control of opposition fighters for years until it was restored by government forces in July.

“Israel can not give up the Golan under any conceivable circumstance,” said Jason Greenblatt, a senior adviser to the White House, on Twitter. “If it does, it will jeopardize the very existence of Israel.”

But Fuad Munther, a Syrian whose village is located in the occupied Golan, said Trump “annuls the will of an entire nation.” “You say you are flying the flag of democracy. Well, Mr. Trump, have you taken into account the will of the people in the Golan?” He told Reuters in the city of Jaramana near Damascus.

In the Golan itself, Sheikh Mahmoud Nazih, a Druze villager, rejected the move. “Trump can say what he wants and say what he wants to make the Golan part of Israel,” the 70-year-old said. But we know that it will remain Syrian territory. ”

The European Union said that its position had not changed on the Golan and that it did not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the region.

Germany said any change in borders must be “carried out by peaceful means between all parties concerned.” The French Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Paris does not recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and that its recognition contravenes international law.

The Arab League, which froze Syria’s membership at the start of the war, said Trump’s remarks, which “pave the way for a US official recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan, are completely out of international law.”

Egypt said in a statement on Friday that the Syrian Golan Heights were occupied Arab land.

Israel says the Syrian war has stressed the need to keep the plateau, rich in water resources as well as its fertile soil, as an area that separates Israeli towns from the unrest in Syria.

“So they are preparing the ground for the deal of the century,” said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee. (Arabs must be sweaty, they are divided and divided and believe that Iran poses an existential threat to them). Trump thinks so. Those who depend on him for their survival will soon disappear. ”

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Friday expressed its regret over US President Donald Trump’s call for recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

“Trump’s statements will not change the firm truth of the international community and the United Nations that the Arab Golan Heights are Syrian territory occupied by Israel by military force on June 5, 1967,” Council Secretary-General Abdul Latif al-Zayani said in a statement.

“The president’s statements undermine the chances of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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