Monday, September 8, 2014

Current situation on both sides of the Golan Heights

Israel 'cooperating with Assad' in Golan Heights 
by Kate Shuttleworth, DW
The recent seizure of the Quneitra border crossing by Islamist extremists fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces marked a major escalation in the impact Syria's civil war has had on Israel. Fighters from the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's branch in Syria, expelled Assad's forces from the area and abducted 43 United Nations peacekeepers in the process. That brought the Islamist extremists within yards of Israeli positions, forcing Israel to close their side of Quneitra crossing and order farmers off agricultural land on the border. (...)
Israel prepares to accept Syrian refugees
Until now Israel has largely refused to accept any Syrians displaced by the civil war, and neighboring countries Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey have shouldered the burden of taking in the now three million refugees. But Israel has treated a small number of Syrians in its hospitals, sending them back to Syria as soon as they have regained their health.
But there are indications that that policy could change. Doulan Abu Saleh, mayor of Majdal Shams, home to 20,000 Syrian Druze and the largest Druze town in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, told DW that Israeli army officials had ordered him to begin preparing for the arrival of Syrian Druze refugees. The first refugees are expected to come from Syrian border communities such as Hadar, which lies right on the UN buffer zone just outside the occupied areas of the Golan Heights, he said.x
Life has become increasingly dangerous for the predominantly Druze community living under rebel control, and Hadar-based Druze have taken up arms to defend themselves against the Nusra Front.

"Sometimes we speak with our relatives on the other side of Syria and we hear that they're under pressure and there were some casualties among our Druze brothers in Syria," said Abu Saleh. (...)
Journalist Patrick O. Strickland presents a rather opposing approach at Middle East Eye arguing that Residents in occupied Golan Heights fear creeping Israeli presence.

Residents in occupied Golan Heights fear creeping Israeli presence - See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/golan-heights-residents-fear-creeping-israeli-presence-587458799#sthash.LgoOderj.dpuf
Residents in occupied Golan Heights fear creeping Israeli presence - See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/golan-heights-residents-fear-creeping-israeli-presence-587458799#sthash.LgoOderj.dpuf
Residents in occupied Golan Heights fear creeping Israeli presence - See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/golan-heights-residents-fear-creeping-israeli-presence-587458799#sthash.LgoOderj.dpuf

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