Archive for the ‘Golan Heights’ Category

Siren heard in Golan Heights – Israel National News

A siren was heard overnight Tuesday, shortly after 12:30 a.m., in the Golan Regional Council in northern Israel.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit clarified that the siren was a false alarm.

On Tuesday afternoon, Syrian refugees moved in towards the Israeli frontier, requesting permission to cross the border into Israel.

Dozens of Syrians were spotted approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights, converging on the border fence from the Kuneitra area, on the Syrian side of the Golan.

The Syrians waved white makeshift flags and requested they be permitted to enter Israel.

Israeli security forces stationed along the border ordered them to halt, stopping the group of Syrians roughly 200 yards from the border checkpoint.

IDF soldiers on the border then ordered the Syrians to move away from the Israeli border.

Last month, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees were spotted heading towards the Golan Heights, fleeing violence in the southern Syrian Daraa region amid a new campaign by Assads forces to crush rebel forces in the area.

Israeli officials reiterated that Israel would not permit Syrians to enter the country, though Israel would continue its policy of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and medical treatment to injured Syrian civilians.

In late June, Israel transferred large quantities of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees living in camps along the border, including 13 tons of food stuffs, 15 tons of baby, hundreds of tents, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.

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Congress Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan …

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BY: Adam KredoJuly 16, 2018 2:40 pm

Congress is renewing efforts to press the Trump administration into recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region on Israel’s northern border with Syria, bucking efforts by GOP leadership to kill the effort, according to conversations with lawmakers.

The House’s National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil war.

The push to have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria.

When DeSantis and other Republicans pushed a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in May, it was nixed by GOP leadership who were seeking to prevent such a vote on the heels of the Trump administration’s successful effort to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The resolution had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others.

DeSantis expressed disappointment at the time in comments to the Free Beacon.

“I don’t know why my Golan Heights amendment was not made in order and thus denied a vote,” DeSantis said. “It was a germane amendment that would have provided the House with a chance to add clarity to the broader U.S. policy vis-a-vis Syria. How could we even contemplate supporting anything other than the application of Israeli sovereignty to such a strategically significant area, especially given the plethora of malevolent forces that undermine security in the region?”

DeSantis, who will chair Tuesday’s hearing, told the Washington Free Beacon he will not stand down despite opposition by some to formally recognizing Israeli control over the territory, which Israel annexed in 1981.

“U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights is overdue and I hope this hearing demonstrates that the time is right for the Trump administration to do so,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon.”As we’ve seen with the successful relocation of our American embassy to Jerusalem, when the U.S. leads with purpose and conviction good things happen.”

The United States has declined for decades to take a position on the status of this territory, but lawmakers such as DeSantis argue the time is right for this effort, particularly in light of the chaos in Syria and the threat it poses to Israeli and U.S. security assets in the region.

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have supported such efforts and also have requested the Trump administration move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory. Public calls for the recognition increased after the Free Beacon first reported on the now-dead congressional resolution on the matter.

The Tuesday hearing will focus on Iran’s destabilizing efforts in Syria and how it has impacted regional security, according to information viewed by the Free Beacon.

Congressional officials and other supporters argue that U.S. recognition of Israeli control of the Golan Heights could thwart Russia and Iran’s growing influence in Syria and also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish state’s security interests as regional tensions grow.

The United States, under numerous governments, has assured the Israeli government that it supports Israel’s annexation of the territory, but has declined to go as far as backing a full recognition of sovereignty. The area remains a key territory that could help Israel defend itself from attacks by Iranian forces and others operating in Syria, supporters argue.

Iranian militants who are still operating freely in Syria as they defend embattled President Bashar al-Assad have used the Golan Heights and areas near it to target Israel.

In February, for instance, Israel intercepted an armed Iranian drone that had entered its airspace via Syria.

In May, Iranian forces in Syria fired at least 20 rockets at Israeli military personnel stationed in the Golan Heights, leading the Trump White House to issue public statements supporting Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of such attacks.

Witnesses testifying at the Tuesday hearing include Dore Gold, a veteran Israeli official who most recently served as director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2016; Michael Doran, a former senior director of the White House’s the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration; Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America; and Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern University professor of law who has studied Israel’s legal claims to the Golan Heights.

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Syrian government targets rebels near Israel-occupied Golan …

Syrian government forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on a rebel-held area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents.

The government’s push came after it had secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in June. On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families were preparing to leave from the city of Daraa, the provincial capital, in buses that would take them to the rebel-held Idlib province in the north.

Similar deals in other parts of Syria resulted in the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters and civilians evacuations that the United Nations and rights groups have decried as forced displacement.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday the success in driving the opposition out of Daraa embodies the will of his army and allied forces to “liberate all of Syrian territories” of “terrorism.”

In recent months and backed by Russian air force, the Syrian government has restored control of over 60 percent of previously rebel-held territory across the country.

Assad spoke during a meeting on Sunday with visiting Iranian foreign ministry’s official Hossein Jaberi Ansari. Assad’s office said the two agreed that the “elimination of terrorism in most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach results at the political level” that could put an end to Syria’s war.

Syria’s government refers to all armed opposition groups as “terrorists” and accuses the West, Turkey, Israel and regional countries of supporting them.

The statement came a day before President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are to meet in Finland. Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Russia is a major Assad ally.

In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the rebels for years back to government control. Daraa, which lies on a highway linking Damascus with Jordan, was the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Since early Sunday, government forces turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces fired more than 800 missiles at an area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside, about 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, from the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Observatory said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government fighters. The pro-Syrian government Central Military Media said a number of insurgents were killed in the clashes.

The Observatory reported airstrikes in Massharah, the first in over a year to hit the Quneitra countryside. It also reported airstrikes in a nearby village in northern Daraa, where government forces have been trying to retake a key hill there after failing to reach a deal with the rebels. Capturing the hill would enable them to advance on militants in the area linked to the Islamic State group.

Daraa activist Abou Mahmoud Hourani said an estimated 400 members of the armed opposition and their families will be evacuated out of Daraa. Syrian state TV al-Ikhbariya said the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people will likely be completed by Sunday.

Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.

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See the view from the strategic Golan Heights – CNN Video

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See the view from the strategic Golan Heights – CNN Video

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Syria and Israel exchange artillery fire over Golan Heights

ISRAEL hit some 50 military targets in Syria after Iranian rockets fired towards its forces sparked a sharp escalation between the long-term enemies.

The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trumps decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated.

It was one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and its biggest such raid against Iranian targets.

Israeli news service Haaretz reports a military source as saying this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed on a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974.

THINGS GET OUT OF CONTROL

In an interview with Greek media shortly before the attacks, Syrian President Assad said he was concerned recent strikes by Israel, Britain, France and the United States could lead to a serious escalation.

I hope we dont see any direct conflict between the great powers, for this is where things get out of control, he said.

(But) there is no worry of a 3rd World War starting in Syria, thanks to the wisdom of the Russian leadership.

Russian state media is reporting that Israel informed Moscow of its intentions ahead of the air and missile strikes today. Israel carried out the raids this morning in what it says was a response to about 20 rockets fired at its forces at around midnight in the occupied Golan Heights from Syria.

It blamed the rocket fire on Irans Al-Quds force, adding that Israels antimissile system intercepted four of them while the rest did not land in its territory.

No Israelis were wounded.

We know that comes from the al-Quds force, a defence spokesman said, referring to the special forces unit affiliated with Irans Revolutionary Guard.

The Israeli army takes very seriously this Iranian attack against Israel.

Later in the early morning hours, explosions could be heard in Damascus while live images were broadcast on television showing projectiles above the Syrian capital and several missiles destroyed by Syrian anti-aircraft systems.

Syrian state media reported that Israeli missile strikes hit military bases, as well as an arms depot and military radar, without specifying the location.

Israels military has since stated it attacked intelligence sites, logistic headquarters, military compounds, and weapons storage sites for Iranian forces inside the al-Kuswa and International Damascus Airports, along with an Iranian military base north of Damascus.

NOT LOOKING TO ESCALATE

The official SANA news agency stated that dozens of missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft systems in Syrian airspace, saying a number of missiles had reached their targets.

Israels military later confirmed it had carried out the raids, saying dozens of Iranian military targets had been struck and all its aircraft had returned safely.

Lt Colonel Jonathan Conricus said intelligence, logistics, storage and vehicles as well as the origin of the rockets were targeted.

Syrian air defences that fired on Israeli forces were also targeted, he said. There had been no comment from Iranian officials.

We are not looking to escalate the situation, Conricus said, but warned Israel would respond forcefully if attacked.

Israel has been warning for weeks that it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran is supporting President Bashar al-Assads regime in the civil war.

Israel has been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that have killed Iranians, though it did not acknowledged those raids.

Israel had been preparing itself for weeks for possible Iranian retaliation. Trumps withdrawal from the nuclear deal has added to tensions and led to a new level of uncertainty over how Iran will respond.

ISRAEL STRIKES IRANIAN DEPOT

The artillery exchange follows a suspected Israeli air strike inside Syria near Damascus yesterday.

Eight Iranians were among 15 foreign pro-regime fighters killed when a weapons depot of Irans elite Revolutionary Guards was hit.

The raid struck the area of Kisweh south of Damascus late on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Syrias official news agency SANA said the army had intercepted two Israeli missiles fired towards Kisweh, with state television broadcasting images of fires in the nearby area.

The death toll of the missile strike has risen to 15 pro-regime fighters eight from Irans Revolutionary Guards and others not of Syrian nationality, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The monitor previously reported nine pro-regime combatants had died in the raid, without specifying their nationality.

SANA quoted a medical source saying that two civilians had died on a highway linking Damascus with the southern city of Deraa as a result of an explosion linked to the Israeli aggression.

It is not the first time that Kisweh has been targeted. In December, Israel reportedly bombed military positions in the area south of Damascus, including a weapons depot.

Since the start of Syrias civil war in 2011, Israel has repeatedly targeted positions of the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement backing it inside the country.

On April 29, missile strikes probably Israeli fired on regime military positions killed at least 26 mostly Iranian fighters, according to the Observatory.

On April 9, missiles targeted the T-4 air base in the central province of Homs, killing up to 14 fighters, including seven Iranians, two days after an alleged chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime.

Damascus accused Israel of carrying out the strike.

Israel and Syria are still officially in a state of war, though the armistice line on the sector of the Golan Heights which the Jewish state seized from its Arab neighbour in 1967 was largely quiet for decades until the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.

In an interview late last month, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a military foothold in Syria.

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Syria and Israel exchange artillery fire over Golan Heights

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Golan Heights: Scene of new turmoil between Syria, Israel …

The Israeli military says it has attacked dozens of Iranian targets in neighboring Syria in response to an Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the long-contested Golan Heights.

Here are some facts about the area and why it matters today:

The Golan Heights is a plateau at the southwestern corner of Syria overlooking the Sea of Galilee and northern Israel, roughly 40 miles (65 kilometers) long and 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide. Militarily, it is strategic high ground, with broad views of both Israel and Syria below.

Syria shelled northern Israel from the Golan Heights between 1948 and 1967. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed it in 1981, but the world still considers it occupied.

In 1974, Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire and a disengagement and U.N. peacekeepers deployed to the area. After the Syrian civil war, the peacekeepers left the area for several months after dozens of them were taken hostages by Syrian rebels. In 2016, the peacekeeping force returned with 1,100 troops currently deployed in the area.

Israel and Syria held peace talks starting in 1991 and even appeared close to a deal in 2000. Disagreement over the fate of the Golan Heights foiled the talks.

Syria fought in three wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, and battled Israel when it invaded Lebanon in 1982. Israel also acknowledged this year it carried out a 2007 airstrike in eastern Syria targeting an unfinished nuclear reactor built by North Korea. Syria and Israel have never made peace.

During Syria’s civil war, Israel has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Syria, targeting suspected weapons shipments by Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah group. As the war now looks to be winding down, Israel has stepped up its tempo of strikes against Iran, viewing any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria as a threat.

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Golan Heights: Scene of new turmoil between Syria, Israel …

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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria, Israelis …

In remarks broadcast earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu said the Revolutionary Guards had moved advanced weapons to Syria, including ground-to-ground missiles and Iranian antiaircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets.

Analysts say that any new conflict between Israel and Iran could mobilize Irans network of proxies from Syria and Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant movement is based, for a multiple-front attack on northern Israel. Iran is building what Israeli and American officials refer to as a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.

Iran refers to the alignment as the axis of resistance, and its defenders say it needs the ability to strike Israel to deter what Iran sees as an Israeli threat. Mr. Netanyahu has previously advocated military strikes on Iran to destroy its nuclear program.

Israel has long accused Iran of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets outside of Israel. The most notorious was the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed at least 85 people and wounded hundreds, regarded as the worst terrorist attack in Argentina.

The Israelis also have accused Irans leaders of complicity in attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in 2012. And they have accused Iran of involvement, through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, of attacking a bus full of Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria in 2013.

Iran, which considers Israel an illegitimate country, has called Israels accusations specious and has blamed Israeli operatives for attacks inside Iran, notably the assassinations of five nuclear scientists, mostly by car bombs.

In interviews on Israeli television on Wednesday night, Israels defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, tried to dispel fears of all-out war.

The Israeli security establishment, he said, was operating responsibly and no one is looking for an escalation or war. But, he said, whatever needs to be done in order to defend the citizens of Israel, we will do.

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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria, Israelis …

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Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation …

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CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “},{“title”:”DOJ: Iranians hacked US professors”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180323095301-rod-rosenstein-0323-screengrab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”,”descriptionText”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”},{“title”:”Protests turn violent in Iran”,”duration”:”01:41″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101115904-cnnmoney-iran-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “},{“title”:”Iranian officials: ‘Provocateurs’ to be targeted”,”duration”:”02:08″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101084001-cnnee-iran-protestas-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports.”},{“title”:”Protesters angry over economy, corruption”,”duration”:”01:47″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230172246-04-iranian-student-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “},{“title”:”Why are citizens protesting in Iran?”,”duration”:”01:45″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230123643-iran-protests-mashhad-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”},{“title”:”Trump applauds Iran’s anti-government protest”,”duration”:”00:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230044528-02-iran-protests-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”,”descriptionText”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”},{“title”:”Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia so at odds?”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171228161652-iran-and-saudia-arabia-flag-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran and Saudi Arabia: Two regional superpowers going head-to-head across the Middle East. CNN’s Becky Anderson explains the tense relationship between the two countries.”,”descriptionText”:”Iran and Saudi Arabia: Two regional superpowers going head-to-head across the Middle East. CNN’s Becky Anderson explains the tense relationship between the two countries.”},{“title”:”Haley: This is concrete evidence against Iran “,”duration”:”02:00″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/12/14/nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/12/14/nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171214133446-nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot-00013621-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/12/14/nikki-haley-us-evidence-against-iran-weapons-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”US Ambassador to the U.N. 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CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Israeli Defense Force officials say Iranian al-Quds forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights have fired more than 20 rockets at Israel. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “},{“title”:”How will US pulling out of deal impact Iranians?”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://money.cnn.com/ “,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180509163630-iran-citizens-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/cnnmoney/2018/05/09/us-iran-deal-impact-people-economy-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”CNN’s Fred Pleitgen explains how the average Iranian citizen could face skyrocketing prices as the US withdraws from the Iran deal.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Fred Pleitgen explains how the average Iranian citizen could face skyrocketing prices as the US withdraws from the Iran deal.”},{“title”:”Watch: US flag set alight in Iran’s parliament”,”duration”:”00:38″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180509102229-iran-us-flag-on-fire-in-parliament-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/05/09/iran-us-flag-on-fire-parliament-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iranian MP’s set fire to a US flag in parliament and chanted “death to America” after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear pact.”,”descriptionText”:”Iranian MP’s set fire to a US flag in parliament and chanted “death to America” after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear pact.”},{“title”:”Risking it all by rejecting the hijab”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180302142930-asequals-iran-hijab1-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/03/02/as-equals-iran-hijab-protests-lon-orig-ejk.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”After women in Iran were arrested for removing their headscarves in protest a motion designer in Tehran created this animation to show her support for their cause.”,”descriptionText”:”After women in Iran were arrested for removing their headscarves in protest a motion designer in Tehran created this animation to show her support for their cause.”},{“title”:”Outrage after ‘morality police’ confront woman”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180420120508-01-iran-hijab-attack-grab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/04/20/hijab-iran-morality-police-orig-lon-bks.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”An amateur video shows a member of the “morality police” physically confronting a woman in Iran. The video went viral, triggering a response from the Iranian government.”,”descriptionText”:”An amateur video shows a member of the “morality police” physically confronting a woman in Iran. The video went viral, triggering a response from the Iranian government.”},{“title”:”Dashed hopes: Reasons Iran protests kicked off”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180102093610-03-iran-protest-1230-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Protests have gripped multiple cities in Iran for the past week, with pro-government protests on the seventh day. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “,”descriptionText”:”Protests have gripped multiple cities in Iran for the past week, with pro-government protests on the seventh day. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “},{“title”:”DOJ: Iranians hacked US professors”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180323095301-rod-rosenstein-0323-screengrab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”,”descriptionText”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”},{“title”:”Protests turn violent in Iran”,”duration”:”01:41″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101115904-cnnmoney-iran-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “},{“title”:”Iranian officials: ‘Provocateurs’ to be targeted”,”duration”:”02:08″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101084001-cnnee-iran-protestas-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports.”},{“title”:”Protesters angry over economy, corruption”,”duration”:”01:47″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230172246-04-iranian-student-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/01/iran-tehran-protests-roberston-lklv.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “},{“title”:”Why are citizens protesting in Iran?”,”duration”:”01:45″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230123643-iran-protests-mashhad-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei-damon-newday.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests have spread into several cities in Iran and President Trump is vocally supporting the protesters.”},{“title”:”Trump applauds Iran’s anti-government protest”,”duration”:”00:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171230044528-02-iran-protests-youtube-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/30/iran-protests-trump-tweets-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”,”descriptionText”:”President Trump tweeted about the recent protest in Iran and said the “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights”. CNN’s George Howell reports.”},{“title”:”Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia so at odds?”,”duration”:”02:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171228161652-iran-and-saudia-arabia-flag-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/12/22/iran-saudi-relationship-anderson-expl-mkd-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran and Saudi Arabia: Two regional superpowers going head-to-head across the Middle East. 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Nikki Haley presented what she called “concrete evidence” of Iran’s weapons proliferation and called on the international community to join “a united front in resisting this global threat.””,”descriptionText”:”US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley presented what she called “concrete evidence” of Iran’s weapons proliferation and called on the international community to join “a united front in resisting this global threat.””},{“title”:”Moment Iran-Iraq earthquake struck”,”duration”:”01:08″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2017/11/13/iraq-iran-border-deadly-earthquake-sdg-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2017/11/13/iraq-iran-border-deadly-earthquake-sdg-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171113092250-03-iraq-iran-earthquake-1113-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2017/11/13/iraq-iran-border-deadly-earthquake-sdg-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Hundreds of people are dead and thousands are injured after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq.”,”descriptionText”:”Hundreds of people are dead and thousands are injured after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq.”}],’js-video_headline-featured-65vyfz’,”,”js-video_source-featured-65vyfz”,true,true,’iran-in-the-news’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length

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Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation …

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Fence dividing Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria …

As the war in Syria rages on, villagers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are watching on helplessly, as their friends and relatives are caught in the conflict.

Members of the Druze religious group are separated by a border fence.

Salman Fahkr El-Deen can see the fence from his balcony. Sometimes the war comes so close, he can feel it.

“At home here, the windows are shaking from the noise of the guns, and the fighting on the Syrian side,” he said.

The fence divides the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria. It runs across the valley, only metres from some of the houses.

But, it has also cut through families. Many residents of the village have loved ones living on the other side. They feel great pain for the civilians caught in the fighting.

“It’s more than feeling. Because the closest village here is full of our relatives, and our friends,” Mr El-Deen said.

“It was in the eye of the storm. All the neighbouring villages here on both sides, are our neighbours.”

He has lived in the Golan Heights, his whole life.

“The Golan Heights are like the Mona Lisa. Beautiful, but sad,” he said.

“War is changing boundaries everywhere. This is the idea of war. This is the diplomacy of fire.

“This is what makes me very anxious, concerned about the future, that the regime is considering to divide Syria.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967, and has continued to occupy and administer the territory.

Most of the residents of the village of Majdal Shams are members of the Druze ethnic minority. Some have formally taken up Israeli citizenship, some have refused, others still regard themselves as Syrian.

The Druze are primarily in Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan. They have a strong sense of kinship, which crosses borders, nationalities and fences.

Even though they live on the Israeli side, some of the residents regard themselves as proudly Syrian. Some fiercely oppose President Bashar al-Assad, others support him.

Hasan Abu Wesam runs a small store near the main square, selling nuts and sweets. The Syrian flag flies above his shop and the television is tuned in to a Syrian news channel.

“President Bashar al-Assad is a democrat. Everyone says this is not true and he is a dictator, but this is wrong,” Mr Wesam said.

“He is defending his country, and fighting for his people, he is refusing to have Syria divided.”

On April 14, the United States, Britain and France launched missile strikes on three locations in Damascus and Homs, in response to an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian military in the city of Douma on April 7.

“When I heard the news of the strike on Syria, the next morning I felt bad, it was very shocking, I felt like we been hit by a lightning strike, we felt like we’d been hit here, in this village,” Mr Wesam said.

“We were so disgusted, people gathered on the streets talking about the aggression, they were dispirited, wanted to know more, what happened, what damage it caused, what were the results. People were very sad, it was bad news to us.”

But some of the younger residents of Majdal Shams do not want to get involved in politics, they just want peace.

Afeef Shofi, 25, works in his family’s earthmoving business in summer. In winter, he works as a ski instructor in the Golan Heights and Europe. He sees a big generation gap between young and old in the local Druze community.

“Actually, there is. The older generation always focuses on the bigger picture. It focuses on what happened in the Golan Heights, what happened in the year of the occupation, what’s happening in Syria,” he said.

“But the younger generation are more focused on the people, on what’s happening right now in Syria, all the bombing, everything that is happening in Syria, we focus on it more than them.”

The fence has become part of daily life here. It cuts across the valley where the Druze once freely travelled.

“Actually we got used to it. It’s not normal for everyone. All the visitors who come here, the first thing they see is the fence. And it’s a big fence, not a small one,” Ms Shofi said.

“We live on this side, we live our life, like an ordinary life. But most of the time we think about what’s happening on the other side and what will happen.”

Some of the residents of Majdal Shams send donations to stricken family members on the other side. The war is so close, but so far away.

“This thing hurts us the most, because all of the families here have relatives there, brothers, sisters, uncles, all of the family members,” Mr Shofi said.

“We try to keep in touch as we can with them, to see if they are OK, what is happening. We try to help, by supporting them, we can’t do much here. On this side here we can’t do much to help them.”

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Fence dividing Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria …

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Siren heard in Golan Heights – Israel National News

A siren was heard overnight Tuesday, shortly after 12:30 a.m., in the Golan Regional Council in northern Israel. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit clarified that the siren was a false alarm. On Tuesday afternoon, Syrian refugees moved in towards the Israeli frontier, requesting permission to cross the border into Israel. Dozens of Syrians were spotted approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights, converging on the border fence from the Kuneitra area, on the Syrian side of the Golan. The Syrians waved white makeshift flags and requested they be permitted to enter Israel. Israeli security forces stationed along the border ordered them to halt, stopping the group of Syrians roughly 200 yards from the border checkpoint. IDF soldiers on the border then ordered the Syrians to move away from the Israeli border. Last month, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees were spotted heading towards the Golan Heights, fleeing violence in the southern Syrian Daraa region amid a new campaign by Assads forces to crush rebel forces in the area. Israeli officials reiterated that Israel would not permit Syrians to enter the country, though Israel would continue its policy of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and medical treatment to injured Syrian civilians. In late June, Israel transferred large quantities of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees living in camps along the border, including 13 tons of food stuffs, 15 tons of baby, hundreds of tents, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.

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Congress Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan …

Golan Heights / Getty Images BY: Adam KredoJuly 16, 2018 2:40 pm Congress is renewing efforts to press the Trump administration into recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region on Israel’s northern border with Syria, bucking efforts by GOP leadership to kill the effort, according to conversations with lawmakers. The House’s National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil war. The push to have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria. When DeSantis and other Republicans pushed a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in May, it was nixed by GOP leadership who were seeking to prevent such a vote on the heels of the Trump administration’s successful effort to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The resolution had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others. DeSantis expressed disappointment at the time in comments to the Free Beacon. “I don’t know why my Golan Heights amendment was not made in order and thus denied a vote,” DeSantis said. “It was a germane amendment that would have provided the House with a chance to add clarity to the broader U.S. policy vis-a-vis Syria. How could we even contemplate supporting anything other than the application of Israeli sovereignty to such a strategically significant area, especially given the plethora of malevolent forces that undermine security in the region?” DeSantis, who will chair Tuesday’s hearing, told the Washington Free Beacon he will not stand down despite opposition by some to formally recognizing Israeli control over the territory, which Israel annexed in 1981. “U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights is overdue and I hope this hearing demonstrates that the time is right for the Trump administration to do so,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon.”As we’ve seen with the successful relocation of our American embassy to Jerusalem, when the U.S. leads with purpose and conviction good things happen.” The United States has declined for decades to take a position on the status of this territory, but lawmakers such as DeSantis argue the time is right for this effort, particularly in light of the chaos in Syria and the threat it poses to Israeli and U.S. security assets in the region. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have supported such efforts and also have requested the Trump administration move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory. Public calls for the recognition increased after the Free Beacon first reported on the now-dead congressional resolution on the matter. The Tuesday hearing will focus on Iran’s destabilizing efforts in Syria and how it has impacted regional security, according to information viewed by the Free Beacon. Congressional officials and other supporters argue that U.S. recognition of Israeli control of the Golan Heights could thwart Russia and Iran’s growing influence in Syria and also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish state’s security interests as regional tensions grow. The United States, under numerous governments, has assured the Israeli government that it supports Israel’s annexation of the territory, but has declined to go as far as backing a full recognition of sovereignty. The area remains a key territory that could help Israel defend itself from attacks by Iranian forces and others operating in Syria, supporters argue. Iranian militants who are still operating freely in Syria as they defend embattled President Bashar al-Assad have used the Golan Heights and areas near it to target Israel. In February, for instance, Israel intercepted an armed Iranian drone that had entered its airspace via Syria. In May, Iranian forces in Syria fired at least 20 rockets at Israeli military personnel stationed in the Golan Heights, leading the Trump White House to issue public statements supporting Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of such attacks. Witnesses testifying at the Tuesday hearing include Dore Gold, a veteran Israeli official who most recently served as director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2016; Michael Doran, a former senior director of the White House’s the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration; Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America; and Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern University professor of law who has studied Israel’s legal claims to the Golan Heights.

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Syrian government targets rebels near Israel-occupied Golan …

Syrian government forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on a rebel-held area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents. The government’s push came after it had secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in June. On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families were preparing to leave from the city of Daraa, the provincial capital, in buses that would take them to the rebel-held Idlib province in the north. Similar deals in other parts of Syria resulted in the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters and civilians evacuations that the United Nations and rights groups have decried as forced displacement. Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday the success in driving the opposition out of Daraa embodies the will of his army and allied forces to “liberate all of Syrian territories” of “terrorism.” In recent months and backed by Russian air force, the Syrian government has restored control of over 60 percent of previously rebel-held territory across the country. Assad spoke during a meeting on Sunday with visiting Iranian foreign ministry’s official Hossein Jaberi Ansari. Assad’s office said the two agreed that the “elimination of terrorism in most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach results at the political level” that could put an end to Syria’s war. Syria’s government refers to all armed opposition groups as “terrorists” and accuses the West, Turkey, Israel and regional countries of supporting them. The statement came a day before President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are to meet in Finland. Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Russia is a major Assad ally. In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the rebels for years back to government control. Daraa, which lies on a highway linking Damascus with Jordan, was the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Since early Sunday, government forces turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces fired more than 800 missiles at an area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside, about 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, from the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Observatory said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government fighters. The pro-Syrian government Central Military Media said a number of insurgents were killed in the clashes. The Observatory reported airstrikes in Massharah, the first in over a year to hit the Quneitra countryside. It also reported airstrikes in a nearby village in northern Daraa, where government forces have been trying to retake a key hill there after failing to reach a deal with the rebels. Capturing the hill would enable them to advance on militants in the area linked to the Islamic State group. Daraa activist Abou Mahmoud Hourani said an estimated 400 members of the armed opposition and their families will be evacuated out of Daraa. Syrian state TV al-Ikhbariya said the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people will likely be completed by Sunday. Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.

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See the view from the strategic Golan Heights – CNN Video

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May 30, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Syria and Israel exchange artillery fire over Golan Heights

ISRAEL hit some 50 military targets in Syria after Iranian rockets fired towards its forces sparked a sharp escalation between the long-term enemies. The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trumps decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated. It was one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and its biggest such raid against Iranian targets. Israeli news service Haaretz reports a military source as saying this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed on a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974. THINGS GET OUT OF CONTROL In an interview with Greek media shortly before the attacks, Syrian President Assad said he was concerned recent strikes by Israel, Britain, France and the United States could lead to a serious escalation. I hope we dont see any direct conflict between the great powers, for this is where things get out of control, he said. (But) there is no worry of a 3rd World War starting in Syria, thanks to the wisdom of the Russian leadership. Russian state media is reporting that Israel informed Moscow of its intentions ahead of the air and missile strikes today. Israel carried out the raids this morning in what it says was a response to about 20 rockets fired at its forces at around midnight in the occupied Golan Heights from Syria. It blamed the rocket fire on Irans Al-Quds force, adding that Israels antimissile system intercepted four of them while the rest did not land in its territory. No Israelis were wounded. We know that comes from the al-Quds force, a defence spokesman said, referring to the special forces unit affiliated with Irans Revolutionary Guard. The Israeli army takes very seriously this Iranian attack against Israel. Later in the early morning hours, explosions could be heard in Damascus while live images were broadcast on television showing projectiles above the Syrian capital and several missiles destroyed by Syrian anti-aircraft systems. Syrian state media reported that Israeli missile strikes hit military bases, as well as an arms depot and military radar, without specifying the location. Israels military has since stated it attacked intelligence sites, logistic headquarters, military compounds, and weapons storage sites for Iranian forces inside the al-Kuswa and International Damascus Airports, along with an Iranian military base north of Damascus. NOT LOOKING TO ESCALATE The official SANA news agency stated that dozens of missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft systems in Syrian airspace, saying a number of missiles had reached their targets. Israels military later confirmed it had carried out the raids, saying dozens of Iranian military targets had been struck and all its aircraft had returned safely. Lt Colonel Jonathan Conricus said intelligence, logistics, storage and vehicles as well as the origin of the rockets were targeted. Syrian air defences that fired on Israeli forces were also targeted, he said. There had been no comment from Iranian officials. We are not looking to escalate the situation, Conricus said, but warned Israel would respond forcefully if attacked. Israel has been warning for weeks that it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran is supporting President Bashar al-Assads regime in the civil war. Israel has been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that have killed Iranians, though it did not acknowledged those raids. Israel had been preparing itself for weeks for possible Iranian retaliation. Trumps withdrawal from the nuclear deal has added to tensions and led to a new level of uncertainty over how Iran will respond. ISRAEL STRIKES IRANIAN DEPOT The artillery exchange follows a suspected Israeli air strike inside Syria near Damascus yesterday. Eight Iranians were among 15 foreign pro-regime fighters killed when a weapons depot of Irans elite Revolutionary Guards was hit. The raid struck the area of Kisweh south of Damascus late on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. Syrias official news agency SANA said the army had intercepted two Israeli missiles fired towards Kisweh, with state television broadcasting images of fires in the nearby area. The death toll of the missile strike has risen to 15 pro-regime fighters eight from Irans Revolutionary Guards and others not of Syrian nationality, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. The monitor previously reported nine pro-regime combatants had died in the raid, without specifying their nationality. SANA quoted a medical source saying that two civilians had died on a highway linking Damascus with the southern city of Deraa as a result of an explosion linked to the Israeli aggression. It is not the first time that Kisweh has been targeted. In December, Israel reportedly bombed military positions in the area south of Damascus, including a weapons depot. Since the start of Syrias civil war in 2011, Israel has repeatedly targeted positions of the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement backing it inside the country. On April 29, missile strikes probably Israeli fired on regime military positions killed at least 26 mostly Iranian fighters, according to the Observatory. On April 9, missiles targeted the T-4 air base in the central province of Homs, killing up to 14 fighters, including seven Iranians, two days after an alleged chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime. Damascus accused Israel of carrying out the strike. Israel and Syria are still officially in a state of war, though the armistice line on the sector of the Golan Heights which the Jewish state seized from its Arab neighbour in 1967 was largely quiet for decades until the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. In an interview late last month, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a military foothold in Syria.

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May 10, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Golan Heights: Scene of new turmoil between Syria, Israel …

The Israeli military says it has attacked dozens of Iranian targets in neighboring Syria in response to an Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the long-contested Golan Heights. Here are some facts about the area and why it matters today: The Golan Heights is a plateau at the southwestern corner of Syria overlooking the Sea of Galilee and northern Israel, roughly 40 miles (65 kilometers) long and 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide. Militarily, it is strategic high ground, with broad views of both Israel and Syria below. Syria shelled northern Israel from the Golan Heights between 1948 and 1967. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed it in 1981, but the world still considers it occupied. In 1974, Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire and a disengagement and U.N. peacekeepers deployed to the area. After the Syrian civil war, the peacekeepers left the area for several months after dozens of them were taken hostages by Syrian rebels. In 2016, the peacekeeping force returned with 1,100 troops currently deployed in the area. Israel and Syria held peace talks starting in 1991 and even appeared close to a deal in 2000. Disagreement over the fate of the Golan Heights foiled the talks. Syria fought in three wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, and battled Israel when it invaded Lebanon in 1982. Israel also acknowledged this year it carried out a 2007 airstrike in eastern Syria targeting an unfinished nuclear reactor built by North Korea. Syria and Israel have never made peace. During Syria’s civil war, Israel has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Syria, targeting suspected weapons shipments by Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah group. As the war now looks to be winding down, Israel has stepped up its tempo of strikes against Iran, viewing any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria as a threat.

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May 10, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria, Israelis …

In remarks broadcast earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu said the Revolutionary Guards had moved advanced weapons to Syria, including ground-to-ground missiles and Iranian antiaircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets. Analysts say that any new conflict between Israel and Iran could mobilize Irans network of proxies from Syria and Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant movement is based, for a multiple-front attack on northern Israel. Iran is building what Israeli and American officials refer to as a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Iran refers to the alignment as the axis of resistance, and its defenders say it needs the ability to strike Israel to deter what Iran sees as an Israeli threat. Mr. Netanyahu has previously advocated military strikes on Iran to destroy its nuclear program. Israel has long accused Iran of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets outside of Israel. The most notorious was the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed at least 85 people and wounded hundreds, regarded as the worst terrorist attack in Argentina. The Israelis also have accused Irans leaders of complicity in attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in 2012. And they have accused Iran of involvement, through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, of attacking a bus full of Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria in 2013. Iran, which considers Israel an illegitimate country, has called Israels accusations specious and has blamed Israeli operatives for attacks inside Iran, notably the assassinations of five nuclear scientists, mostly by car bombs. In interviews on Israeli television on Wednesday night, Israels defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, tried to dispel fears of all-out war. The Israeli security establishment, he said, was operating responsibly and no one is looking for an escalation or war. But, he said, whatever needs to be done in order to defend the citizens of Israel, we will do.

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May 10, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation …

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The video went viral, triggering a response from the Iranian government.”,”descriptionText”:”An amateur video shows a member of the “morality police” physically confronting a woman in Iran. The video went viral, triggering a response from the Iranian government.”},{“title”:”Dashed hopes: Reasons Iran protests kicked off”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180102093610-03-iran-protest-1230-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/03/iran-protests-why-they-all-began-lon-orig-mkd.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Protests have gripped multiple cities in Iran for the past week, with pro-government protests on the seventh day. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “,”descriptionText”:”Protests have gripped multiple cities in Iran for the past week, with pro-government protests on the seventh day. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh explains how they started in the first place. “},{“title”:”DOJ: Iranians hacked US professors”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180323095301-rod-rosenstein-0323-screengrab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2018/03/23/rod-rosenstein-iranian-hackers-indicted-sot.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”,”descriptionText”:”The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers broke into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of US and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal massive amounts of data and intellectual property.”},{“title”:”Protests turn violent in Iran”,”duration”:”01:41″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101115904-cnnmoney-iran-protests-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-sje-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “,”descriptionText”:”Anti-government protests in Iran have left multiple people dead and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters, according to state media. “},{“title”:”Iranian officials: ‘Provocateurs’ to be targeted”,”duration”:”02:08″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180101084001-cnnee-iran-protestas-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/01/02/iran-anti-government-protests-provocateurs-targeted-npw.cnn/video/playlists/iran-in-the-news/”,”description”:”Iran’s intelligence ministry says so-called “provocateurs” will be targeted if anti-government protesters return to the streets. 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CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning protesters that violence won’t be tolerated after massive anti-government protests turned deadly over the weekend. 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May 9, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed

Fence dividing Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria …

As the war in Syria rages on, villagers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are watching on helplessly, as their friends and relatives are caught in the conflict. Members of the Druze religious group are separated by a border fence. Salman Fahkr El-Deen can see the fence from his balcony. Sometimes the war comes so close, he can feel it. “At home here, the windows are shaking from the noise of the guns, and the fighting on the Syrian side,” he said. The fence divides the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria. It runs across the valley, only metres from some of the houses. But, it has also cut through families. Many residents of the village have loved ones living on the other side. They feel great pain for the civilians caught in the fighting. “It’s more than feeling. Because the closest village here is full of our relatives, and our friends,” Mr El-Deen said. “It was in the eye of the storm. All the neighbouring villages here on both sides, are our neighbours.” He has lived in the Golan Heights, his whole life. “The Golan Heights are like the Mona Lisa. Beautiful, but sad,” he said. “War is changing boundaries everywhere. This is the idea of war. This is the diplomacy of fire. “This is what makes me very anxious, concerned about the future, that the regime is considering to divide Syria.” Israel captured the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967, and has continued to occupy and administer the territory. Most of the residents of the village of Majdal Shams are members of the Druze ethnic minority. Some have formally taken up Israeli citizenship, some have refused, others still regard themselves as Syrian. The Druze are primarily in Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan. They have a strong sense of kinship, which crosses borders, nationalities and fences. Even though they live on the Israeli side, some of the residents regard themselves as proudly Syrian. Some fiercely oppose President Bashar al-Assad, others support him. Hasan Abu Wesam runs a small store near the main square, selling nuts and sweets. The Syrian flag flies above his shop and the television is tuned in to a Syrian news channel. “President Bashar al-Assad is a democrat. Everyone says this is not true and he is a dictator, but this is wrong,” Mr Wesam said. “He is defending his country, and fighting for his people, he is refusing to have Syria divided.” On April 14, the United States, Britain and France launched missile strikes on three locations in Damascus and Homs, in response to an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian military in the city of Douma on April 7. “When I heard the news of the strike on Syria, the next morning I felt bad, it was very shocking, I felt like we been hit by a lightning strike, we felt like we’d been hit here, in this village,” Mr Wesam said. “We were so disgusted, people gathered on the streets talking about the aggression, they were dispirited, wanted to know more, what happened, what damage it caused, what were the results. People were very sad, it was bad news to us.” But some of the younger residents of Majdal Shams do not want to get involved in politics, they just want peace. Afeef Shofi, 25, works in his family’s earthmoving business in summer. In winter, he works as a ski instructor in the Golan Heights and Europe. He sees a big generation gap between young and old in the local Druze community. “Actually, there is. The older generation always focuses on the bigger picture. It focuses on what happened in the Golan Heights, what happened in the year of the occupation, what’s happening in Syria,” he said. “But the younger generation are more focused on the people, on what’s happening right now in Syria, all the bombing, everything that is happening in Syria, we focus on it more than them.” The fence has become part of daily life here. It cuts across the valley where the Druze once freely travelled. “Actually we got used to it. It’s not normal for everyone. All the visitors who come here, the first thing they see is the fence. And it’s a big fence, not a small one,” Ms Shofi said. “We live on this side, we live our life, like an ordinary life. But most of the time we think about what’s happening on the other side and what will happen.” Some of the residents of Majdal Shams send donations to stricken family members on the other side. The war is so close, but so far away. “This thing hurts us the most, because all of the families here have relatives there, brothers, sisters, uncles, all of the family members,” Mr Shofi said. “We try to keep in touch as we can with them, to see if they are OK, what is happening. We try to help, by supporting them, we can’t do much here. On this side here we can’t do much to help them.”

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April 19, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Golan Heights  Comments Closed


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