JERUSALEM – Top members of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath Party were advised in a private briefing to purchase real estate in the Golan Heights because, they were told, the strategic territory will “very soon” be returned to Syria, a Baath official told WorldNetDaily.
“This is not a political recommendation. It was made in private to top officials because it is absolutely estimated that Syria will very soon get the Golan Heights back,” the official said. “We’ve been instructed to purchase what will become prime real estate for us.”
The Golan Heights is mountainous territory captured by the Jewish state after Syria used the terrain to attack Israel in 1967 and again in 1973. The Heights looks down on major Israeli and Syrian population centers. It borders Israel, Syria and Lebanon and is claimed by Damascus.
Military officials say returning the Golan Heights to Syria would grant Damascus the ability to mount an effective ground invasion of the Jewish state.
Currently, eight Syrian Baath officials live in the Israeli-occupied sections of the Golan Heights. They can technically become Israeli residents. The Heights has a population of about 35,000 people – approximately 18,000 Jewish residents and 17,000 Arabs, mostly Druze. The Arab residents retain their Syrian citizenship, but under Israeli law can also sue for Israeli citizenship.
The recommendation for Baath officials to purchase Golan Heights real estate follows reports that Syria is forming its own Hezbollah-like guerrilla organizations to fight Israel in hopes of “liberating” the Golan.
Yesterday, a previously unknown organization calling itself the Men of the National Syrian Resistance faxed statements to news agencies threatening to kidnap Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights.
Earlier this month, WorldNetDaily broke the story Syria is in the process of forming what a Baath Party official called the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights, a new “resistance” group that models itself after Hezbollah.
The official told WND Syria learned from Hezbollah’s military campaign against Israel the past month that “fighting” is more effective than peace negotiations with regard to gaining territory.
Hezbollah claims its goal is to liberate the Shebaa Farms, a small, 125-square-mile bloc situated between Syria, Lebanon and Israel. The cease-fire resolution accepted by Israel to end its military campaign in Lebanon calls for negotiations leading to Israel’s relinquishing of the Shebaa Farms.
The Baath official told WND the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights was formed in June and that the group currently consists of Syrian volunteers, many from the Syrian border with Turkey and from Palestinian refugee camps near Damascus. He said Syria held registration for volunteers to join the Front in June.
This week state-run Al-Alam Iranian television featured an interview with a man who identified himself as the leader of the new Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights.
The man, whose features were blocked out, said his new group consists of “hundreds” of fighters who are training for guerrilla-like raids against Israeli positions in and near the Golan. He claimed the Front has opened several training camps inside Syria.