Syria: We will attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad issued the warning to a U.N. official as Damascus fears U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

By World Israel News Staff

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad reportedly warned Kristin Lund, head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), that “Syria will attack Israel if it does not leave the Golan Heights.”

“We will not hesitate to confront Israel,” Mekdad said. “We are also not scared away by its [Israel’s] supporters who are helping to perpetuate the occupation of the Golan,” he added.

The Syrian official accused Israel of using violence and harming regional stability.

The message has been interpreted as a sign that Syria is concerned that the U.S. will recognize Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) introduced legislation last week urging the United States to officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty. The IDF captured the territory in the 1967 war. In 1981, the Knesset passed legislation applying Israeli law on the Golan.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (AP /Hassan Ammar)

The current congressional bill states that it would be “unrealistic to expect that the outcome of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria will be an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.”

Support for Israel’s control over the Golan recently crossed the political aisle with the backing of  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland.

Syria also sees the support that the Trump administration has shown for other Israeli positions by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Earlier this week, Palestinian affairs at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem were transferred to the control of Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, an act which Palestinian Authority officials said showed that the Trump administration was recognizing Israeli control over all of Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that “the Golan Heights will remain Israel’s forever,” though in the past, Israeli prime ministers have considered a possible withdrawal in exchange for peace with Syria.