News / Middle East

Syrian Army Retakes Golan Crossing

Smoke rises as a fire burns near the Quneitra transit point, as seen from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, June 6, 2013.
Smoke rises as a fire burns near the Quneitra transit point, as seen from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, June 6, 2013.
VOA News
Syrian government troops have recaptured a U.N.-manned crossing along the cease-fire line with Israel in the Golan Heights just hours after reports indicated Syrian rebels had briefly seized the area.

Several hours after rebels took the Quneitra transit point Thursday, Israeli security sources said the Syrian army had recaptured it.

The rarely-used crossing is the only one that exists between Syrian and Israeli-controlled areas in what is a U.N.-monitored disengagement zone. Witnesses reported heavy clashes on the Syrian side and said facilities were badly damaged.

As the fighting rages, the Austrian government said it will withdraw its peacekeepers from the U.N.'s Golan mission. Austrians make up about 380 of the 1,000-strong United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

Israel said Thursday it regrets Austria's decision and hopes the move will not lead to further escalation of the conflict along the Syrian frontier.

A U.N. spokeswoman said the withdrawal will affect the operational capacity of the mission and that it is discussing the timing of the move and seeking replacement troops. The U.N. force has patrolled the disengagement zone between Syrian and Israeli-held territory in the Golan Heights for decades.

Israel is worried that the Golan could become a springboard for attacks on Israelis by hardline Islamist fighters, who are taking part in the armed struggle against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Sunni Muslims to join the battle in Syria, overthrow President Bashar Assad and set up Islamist rule in the country.
In a 22-minute recording posted on Islamist websites, Zawahri called on Sunnis everywhere to devote their lives, money and expertise to the fight and thwart what he called U.S. plans to set up a client state in Syria to safeguard Israel's security.

He urged Sunnis to "rise above their differences" and fight expanding Shi'ite influence in Syria.

Also Thursday, the European Union committed another $526 million in humanitarian aid to Syria and its neighbors to deal with the worsening crisis. States neighboring Syria have struggled to deal with a huge influx of refugees.

Watch related video report:

US Analysts: Qusair Capture Bolsters Assad Regimei
June 06, 2013 11:40 AM
The United States, Russia and the United Nations have postponed a peace conference on Syria for July, saying all sides are not prepared to work for a diplomatic resolution. Analysts in Washington say the sides cannot agree on who should participate in the conference. Meanwhile, Syrian government forces have recaptured Qusair from the rebels after a brutal three-week offensive. Zlatica Hoke has more.]]

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Comment Sorting
by: tsotso from: harare
June 07, 2013 5:29 AM
what a defeat for the rebels and the west , but why is the west left to destabilize the whole world in their quest to rule it

June 07, 2013 1:12 AM
I request to USA Govt, do not support Al Qaida or their children born in Saudi Arabia. We cannot call them human being who eat human parts in front of camera with proud. This is the teaching and training they are getting in Saudi Arabia to burn houses and eat human parts and shameful all in the name of Wahabi Islam. Main casualties in Syria from Saudi Arabia(44) whose brainless arm man destroyed so many villages and towns and killed innocent peoples in brutal way. USA has a bad experience in supporting Taliban ( children of al qaida) so i request this time be careful in selection.

by: Anonymous
June 06, 2013 1:05 PM
When the news reports the "Syrian Army" they should reword it to say "Assad hired thugs" because these guys do not have any respect for the Nation of Syria. Bombing entire towns, cities, and villages and killing tens of thousands of innocent Syrians, is just plain murder, and they have to be held accountable. Bashar al Assad is at the top of the food chain, he must be served several thousand death sentences for the killings of tens of thousands of innocent civilians from his bombing run campaigns.

by: Oki from: Nigeria
June 06, 2013 10:45 AM
I dont understand why the u.s government would support a rebel group that can not be trusted...￴

by: cheerio
June 06, 2013 7:05 AM
All is fair in love and war. The israelis blitzed gaza with US complicity will remain infamous for eternity.....

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