Syria slams Trump, vows to recover Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as condemnation grows

President Donald Trump had said it was time to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967.
President Donald Trump had said it was time to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (REUTERS) -  United States President Donald Trump faced growing condemnation on Friday (March 22) over his statement that it was time to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Syria expressed outrage and said it was determined to recover the area "through all available means".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Trump’s statement had brought the region to the edge of a new crisis.  In a speech at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Erdogan said: “We cannot allow the legitimisation of the occupation of the Golan Heights”. 

Syria's state news agency quoted a foreign ministry source as saying Trump showed "the blind bias of the United States" towards Israel.

It did not change "the reality that the Golan was and will remain Syrian, Arab", the source said.

"The Syrian nation is more determined to liberate this precious piece of Syrian national land through all available means," the source said, adding that Mr Trump's statement was "irresponsible" and showed "contempt" for international law.

Russia's foreign ministry said Mr Trump's statement was a direct violation of United Nations decisions, RIA news agency said.

Mr Trump said on Thursday that it was time to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967, marking a dramatic shift in US policy and giving a boost to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the middle of his re-election campaign.

The disputed area was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

 
 

Mr Netanyahu has pressed the US to recognise its claim and raised that possibility in his first White House meeting with Mr Trump in February 2017.

Iran also condemned Mr Trump's comments.

“This illegal and unacceptable recognition does not change the fact that it belongs to Syria,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Friday, cited by state TV.