A senior Syrian official has censured Israel's assassination of former Syrian lawmaker Midhat Saleh al-Saleh in the occupied Golan Heights as a cowardly act, saying the crime is rooted in “Israeli nature” which will be avenged.
Saleh, who had been imprisoned in Israel for 12 years, was killed by gunfire while returning home in the Syrian village of Ain al-Tinah opposite the Israeli-occupied town of Majdal Shams in Golan on Saturday.
Israeli media cited locals as witnessing a heavy presence of helicopters and UAVs in the vicinity of the assassination site.
“Regarding the murder of our former MP and hero, this is just another cowardly act by the criminal Israelis which is very common of them. This is not the first time they commit such crimes. Every day, there are crimes whether they are against innocent Palestinian civilians, women, children, elderly or against Syrian civilians,” Syria’s former MP Fares Shehabi told Press TV.
“It comes within the context of Israeli aggression and Israeli nature; and this instability in the region cannot be solved with the existence of this criminal entity, this colonial apartheid entity called Israel. We will never accept to live under constant terrorism by this entity; we will be defiant and we will respond in the time and manner of our choosing,” he added.
Shehabi underlined Golan's resistance against the Israeli occupation over the years and said the people in the region have never recognized the illegal entity as a state.
“Our martyr is from the Golan, which proves that the Golan people, the natives of the Golan, are against the Israeli occupation and they do not recognize Israel. If they are Israeli citizens, like Israel claims, then why would the Israeli army assassinate them and kill them in cold blood,” the former Syrian MP said.
Born in Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, Saleh was arrested by Israeli forces in 1983, and following his release, he was arrested again in 1985 and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
He left for Syria in 1998, a year after he was released from his 12-year imprisonment, and then worked to establish a committee to support prisoners and detainees.
Saleh served as a member of Syria’s parliament until 2005, and was later appointed as head of the Golan Heights’ portfolio by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.
The United Nations has also underlined Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.