Golan Heights, Israel
Golan Heights, IsraeliStock

Syria on Monday blasted Israel’s plans to develop the Golan Heights, claiming the plans are “dangerous and unprecedented” and only perpetuate Israel’s “occupation” of the territory, reports The Associated Press.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that the government would invest one billion shekels in order to establish new towns and neighborhoods in the Golan Heights and double the region’s population in five years.

“Syria strongly condemns the dangerous and unprecedented escalation from the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and its persistence in settlement policies and grave and methodological violations that rise to the level of war crimes,” a Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said.

The statement added the Syrian government remains committed to the Syrians living in the Golan “who are steadfast in their resistance to the Israeli occupation and their rejection of the decision to annex the Golan.”

Then-US President Donald Trump announced in March of 2019 that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. A year later, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Golan Heights.

Israel liberated the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. Syria still views the Golan as its territory and condemned Pompeo’s visit to the region, describing it as a “provocation”.