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Syria urges international bodies to force Israel to stop violating Golan citizens’ rights

An Israeli flag flutters above the wreckage of a tank on a hill in Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overlooking the border with Syria. (Photo to AFP)

Syria's Foreign and Expatriates Ministry has called on international rights organizations to pressure Israel to stop the violation of Syrian citizens’ rights in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and to immediately intervene to facilitate their return to their home towns.

“The Syrian permanent mission, at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sent letters to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, demanding [that they] ... exert pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to stop their illegitimate practices against the Syrian citizens in Golan and to guarantee its compliance with its international legal obligations under the Geneva Conventions,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry urged the permanent mission to raise the issue of Israeli violations against the occupied Syrian Golan citizens, including the prevention of travelers, who left the place for the purpose of study, work or any other circumstance, from returning to their cities and towns in Golan.

The ministry also called on the mission to address the authorities concerned at the UN and other international organizations in Geneva regarding the humanitarian issue in order to protect the occupied Syrian Golan citizens from the Israeli occupation practices.

The statement urged the rights organizations to immediately intervene and enable those Syrians to return to their towns in the occupied Syrian Golan as soon as possible and without any preconditions.

The United Nations in July emphasized Syria's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, stressing that annexation measures imposed by the Tel Aviv regime in the territory are invalid and illegitimate.

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out and a year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights.

Israel has over the past decades built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has time and again emphasized Syria's sovereignty over the territory.

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