Syria: Pompeo visit to Golan Heights a 'provocation'

Syrian government condemns Pompeo visit to the Golan Heights: Such criminal visits encourage Israel to continue its hostile approach.

Elad Benari ,

Pompeo and Ashkenazi in the Golan Heights
Pompeo and Ashkenazi in the Golan Heights
Shlomi Amsalem, MFA

The Syrian government on Thursday condemned the visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Golan Heights, describing it as a “provocation”.

"Pompeo's visit is a provocative step before the end of the Trump administration's term, and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic," said a foreign ministry statement carried by state news agency SANA.

"Syria affirms that such criminal visits encourage (Israel) to continue its dangerous hostile approach," it added.

Syria called on the international community and the UN to condemn Pompeo’s visit, which it said violated international resolutions.

Pompeo on Thursday became the first US Secretary of State to visit the Golan Heights, which Israel liberated from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.

"You can't stand here and stare out at what's across the border and deny the central thing that President Donald Trump recognized... This is a part of Israel," Pompeo said.

"Imagine with (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad in control of this place, the risk of the harm to the West and to Israel," Pompeo added.

President Donald Trump announced in March of 2019 that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The move was met with condemnation from the Arab world, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait all saying that the Golan Heights is “occupied Arab land”.

The move also drew criticism from the European Union, which said it regarded the Golan Heights as “occupied territory”.