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April 08, 2018

Where’s the Coverage? Syria Violates Demilitarized Buffer Zone with Israel

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Bashar al-Assad


The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has placed tanks and heavy artillery inside a demilitarized border zone with Israel. Although Assad’s move violates a “decades-old agreement,? it was widely ignored by major U.S. media outlets.

On April 5, 2018, The Times of Israel reported that the Assad regime is “preparing an offensive to retake southern Syria and the Syrian Golan Heights from rebel groups,? and is placing both tanks and heavy artillery inside the buffer zone to do so. However, as TOI reporter Michael Bachner pointed out: “The step violates the Agreement on Disengagement signed in 1974 between Israel and Syria, which concluded the Yom Kippur War.? That Arab-initiated war was fought in October 1973 between a Soviet-supported Arab-coalition, led by Egypt and Syria, against Israel.

The Agreement on Disengagement created the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF), which has been responsible for patrolling the buffer zone since 1974. The outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, however, led to the UNDOF’s evacuation from the area. Since then, several al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups have operated in the area, according to The Times of Israel report.

Syria’s violation of a long-standing agreement—forged in the aftermath of a famous and bloody war—should be news. Yet most major U.S. news outlets have failed to report it. A Lexis-Nexis search of The Washington Post, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, among others, shows no original reporting of the development. By contrast, both The Times of Israel and Ha’aretz offered full-length reports.

The Assad regime’s decision to violate the agreement is ominous. Syria has consistently refused to make peace with the Jewish state—repeatedly waging wars against Israel and supporting terror groups that seek its destruction. In previous years, Syria has supported Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), among other terrorist organizations.

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, Lebanese-based terror group, has fought in the Syrian Civil War, in support of Assad. From its Lebanese enclave, Hezbollah routinely attacks Israel, most recently in a bloody thirty-four-day war in the summer of 2006. As CAMERA noted in a March 28, 2018 Washington Examiner Op-Ed, the advent of the Syrian Civil War has provided Hezbollah, as well as its Iranian masters, with a new front to assault the Jewish state (“Israel may be facing a five-front war?).

The weakening of Assad’s power and legitimacy as a result of the civil war, and his dependence on the Russian and Iranian-supported forces that have prevented his overthrow, has only increased Moscow and Tehran’s influence in both Syria and the region. Some analysts have warned that Assad-ruled Syria is becoming a vassal state for Iran ("The Iranian dream of a reborn Persian Empire," The New York Post, Feb. 1, 2015).

On several occasions over the last several months, Israel and Syria have engaged each other in the area formerly under UNDOF’s control. A June 2017 U.N. Security Council resolution “condemned the use of heavy weapons, including tanks, by both the Syrian armed forces and armed groups in the area of separation.? The Times of Israel reported that Israel plans to protest Syria’s recent violation before the United Nations.

Assad’s decision to occupy the demilitarized zone might lead to more conflict with Jerusalem.

Bachner noted that Hezbollah “has established a Golan regional command center, with a hundred of its operatives located in south Syria and a thousand other local residents being paid regular salaries by the organization.? As CAMERA detailed in the Examiner, Hezbollah has vastly increased its capabilities, but its mission—Israel’s destruction—remains unchanged.


Posted by SD at April 8, 2018 09:49 PM

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