Syria is carrying out a new strategy to flood the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border with tens of thousands of Arabs to create "facts on the ground" as a threat against Israel. It is clearing ground under the nose of Israeli tanks on the border and planning more than 1,000 apartments in an initial development, Reuters News Agency reported. Syria claims that more than half a million people are descendants of those who fled the area and have the "right to return."
"These projects are a message to Israel. The refugees... soon will live here and stare right at their Israeli occupiers," government engineer Hilal al-Ghaeb told the news agency.
During its occupation of the Golan Heights until the Six-Day War in 1967, Syria used the Golan Heights solely for military purposes and ignored residential development. Now it is pouring money into public projects, such as a new theater hall near the border in order to attract residents and help it raise the issue on the international level.