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Dozens injured as Israeli forces attack Syrian protesters in occupied Golan Heights

Residents of the Golan Heights opposed to the Tel Aviv regime’s plan to install wind turbines in the occupied Syrian territory clash with Israeli forces in the area on June 20, 2023. (Photo by SANA)

Dozens of people have been injured after Israeli military forces attacked the residents of the Golan Heights opposed to the Tel Aviv regime’s plan to install wind turbines in the occupied Syrian territory.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people staged a protest in the Hafayer area for the second consecutive day to defend their farmlands from the wind turbine project and confronted Israeli troops.

According to Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television news network, Israeli soldiers disproportionately used rubber bullets and tear gas canisters against the unarmed protesters in order to disperse the crowd.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that dozens of people were injured as a result. Several were listed in serious and critical condition.

Israeli forces also arrested more than 10 young protesters and prevented medical staff as well as ambulances from reaching those injured during the skirmishes.

Local sources added that the Israeli army called in large reinforcements and sealed off all roads leading to the Hafayer area.

Videos shared online on Tuesday showed residents confronting Israeli forces and blocking roads by burning tires.

“Today they [Israeli troops] entered the lands of the Golan Heights by force, against the will of the people, which led to clashes,” Sheikh Salman Awad, a local resident, said.

Awad added that Israeli forces had turned the area into a military zone and the situation was tense.

“They will not be able to build [wind] turbines except over our dead bodies,” the Golan resident said.

‘Israeli army’s assault on Golan residents in line with hostile policies’

Meanwhile, the Syrian foreign ministry has expressed support for protests over the Israeli plan for wind turbines in the occupied Golan Heights.

The ministry said in a statement that the latest violent aggression by Israeli military forces against Syrians is in line with the regime’s hostile policies and crimes.

It argued that the assault constitutes a blatant violation of international principles and the UN Charter.

The Syrian foreign ministry expressed hope that the occupation of Golan Heights will eventually come to an end, calling the territory an inseparable part of Syria.

The wind turbine plan is reportedly among the Tel Aviv regime’s most dangerous colonial and Judaization plans targeting the occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli authorities plan to install 46 wind turbines in an area near the villages of Majdal Shams, Ein Qiniyye, Buq’ata, and Mas’ade in Golan, according to SANA.

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large area of the 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, an 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.

However, Israel has over the past several decades come up with dozens of illegal settlements in the occupied Golan in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities there.

In a unilateral move rejected by the international community in 2019, former US President Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights is a region of Syria that has been militarily occupied by Israel since 1967. Damascus has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the area, saying it must be completely restored to its control.

In December 2021, Israel announced that it intends to double the number of its illegal settlements in the Golan Heights, despite an earlier resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly demanding the regime’s full withdrawal from the occupied territory.

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