DAMASCUS: The Syrian government yesterday condemned US President Donald Trump’s pledge to recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, saying it flies in the face of international law.
Trump on Thursday called the Golan – a strategic area seized from Syria in 1967 and annexed in a move never recognised by the international community – “of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!”
The Syrian government denounced his comments, saying they flagrantly disregarded international law.
“The American position towards Syria’s occupied Golan Heights clearly reflects the United States’ contempt for international legitimacy and its flagrant violation of international law,” a foreign ministry source told the official SANA news agency.
The source said Trump’s comments showed the extent of his administration’s bias towards Israel.
They “once again confirmed the United State’s blind bias in favour of the Zionist occupation forces and its unlimited support for their aggressive actions.”
The source accused the US of stoking tensions and threatening international stability, and urged members of the international community to stand against such positions and act in accordance with international law.
“The statements of the US president and his administration on the occupied Syrian Golan will never change the fact that the Golan was and will remain Arab and Syrian,” the source said.
The Arab League echoed the Syrian government’s position.
Trump’s comments recognising Israel’s annexation are “completely outside international law”, League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Monday evening.
“It is a recognition that, if applied, creates no rights, carries no obligations and lacks any legal value.”
Following a long period of calm along the armistice line on the Golan since the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1973, tensions flared after civil war broke out in Syria in 2011.
Israel provided medical assistance to wounded rebel fighters and repeatedly struck government positions in response to stray fire across the ceasefire line.
It also launched a bombing campaign against suspected positions of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which have both intervened militarily in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
An Iranian general was among the dead in a January 2015 strike across the armistice line.
Since the Syrian government decisively defeated rebel fighters near the armistice line on the Golan Heights last year with Iranian and Hezbollah support, Israel has vowed repeatedly to prevent its arch enemies from establishing a long-term military presence.
Trump’s recognition announcement was swiftly welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces a tough reelection battle next month and visits Washington next week.
“At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the right-wing prime minister wrote on Twitter. “Thank you President Trump!”
Trump handed a previous major concession to Israel in 2017 when he recognised Jerusalem as its capital and moved the US embassy to the disputed city despite angry Palestinian opposition. – AFP