Speaking in Damascus, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi insisted that his government considers Israel’s recent attacks a violation of the 1974 ceasefire, and that as a result they reserve the right to attack the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights at any time.
Zoubi went on to repeat allegations from Syrian officials that Israel is backing the rebels, and accused them of allowing the rebels to operate along the demilitarized zone with impunity.
The comments likely reflect Israel’s own statements saying they didn’t think Syria would dare retaliate for being attacked. The rebels have criticized Assad for allowing the attacks without retaliating, and such comments are more about putting on a good show of “standing up” to the Israeli attacks than actually a reflection of policy plans.
Israel kept part of the Golan Heights after the 1974 truce, and annexed it in 1981, though the annexation is not generally accepted internationally. In February, Israel issued permits to begin extracting oil from the territory.
Syria had been in talks with the previous Israeli government to see the return of the heights in part of a long-term peace deal. Such a deal seems remote now, and Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah suggested last week Syria would give him more arms in retaliation for the Israeli attack, and Hezbollah would help in retaking Golan. With so much of Syria’s military caught up in the civil war, of course, it is highly unlikely any such attacks on Golan will occur.