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Syrians lash out at Israeli plan to raze entire village in occupied Golan Heights

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, fences are seen on the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. (Photo by Reuters)

Residents of the occupied Golan Heights have staged a demonstration to express their fierce opposition to the Tel Aviv regime’s plan to completely raze a village in the strategic plateau to build a military base, in a blatant violation of international law.

According to a report by Syria’s official news agency, SANA, protesters rejected the demolition of the remaining homes in the village of Ain Fiet, whose residents were forcibly displaced by the Israeli regime over the past years.

“The Zionist entity aims to obliterate the national identity, establish a military outpost on our lands and Judaize them,” the protesters said.

They said the regime’s scheme to raze the village is contrary to the United Nations Security Council resolution 497.

The UN resolution, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, declares that the Israeli annexation of the occupied Golan Heights is “null and void and without international legal effect” and further calls on the Tel Aviv regime to rescind its action.

The protesters further reiterated their devotion to their homeland and Syrian identity in the face of the Israeli regime’s practices, including arbitrary arrests and systematic oppression.

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.

Israeli forces destroyed Ain Fiet, one of the most fertile and beautiful villages in the Syrian Golan Heights, following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Nearly 131,000 people living there were forcibly displaced, while 7,000 people opted to remain in six other nearby villages, namely Majdal Shams, Masa’da, Baqatha, Ain Qunya, Ghajar and Sahita.

Later on, the Israeli military razed Sahita village and turned it into a military post. It forced its local residents to abandon the village and move to Masa’da.

In 1973, another war broke out and a year later, the United Nations brokered a ceasefire and established a buffer zone between the Israeli and Syrian forces. The UN also adopted several resolutions calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan, but the regime has ignored them.

Earlier this month, Israel further occupied Ghajar village by erecting fences to the north of the area, cutting it off completely from Lebanon.

Last month, dozens of residents and landowners in the towns of Majdal Shams and Masa’deh were prevented from reaching their lands by Israeli forces, leading to confrontations.

The Israeli forces have raided the farmlands to install wind turbines, which according to the farmers, could pose environmental hazards to their lands and interfere with their farming practices.

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 2019, former US president Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights, in a move that was widely condemned by the international community.

Syria denounced the US decision as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In December 2021, Israel announced its plan to double the number of its illegal settlements in the Golan Heights despite a resolution by the UN General Assembly demanding that the regime stop its settlement activities and withdraw from the occupied territory.

Damascus has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the area, saying it must be completely restored to its control.

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