Syria Condemns Israel's Decision to Increase Number of Settlers in Golan Heights, Reports Say

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitFILE - In this July 16, 2013, file photo, Israeli soldiers sit in a position on the border with Syria on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights as smoke rises following explosions of mortar shells
FILE - In this July 16, 2013, file photo, Israeli soldiers sit in a position on the border with Syria on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights as smoke rises following explosions of mortar shells - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.10.2021
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BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Damascus condemns Israel's decision to increase the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied part of the Golan Heights, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Monday, citing an official source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates.
According to SANA, the source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry called the statement aggressive and said it stressed "the hostile expansionist nature" of Israel.
In addition, the source reportedly added that Israel cannot change the legal status of the Syrian Golan as an occupied territory.
Earlier on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking at the Makor Rishon newspaper's conference on Golan Heights, said that Israel intends to double the number of residents and build two new settlements in the Golan Heights.
Israel initially captured the area in a 1967 war and annexed it in 1981. However, the United Nations Security Council considers the Golan as part of Syria.
© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitOct. 11, 2018, an Israeli flag in front of the village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syria slammed President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, saying Friday March 22, 2019, the statement was "irresponsible" and a threat to international peace and stability
Oct. 11, 2018, an Israeli flag in front of the village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syria slammed President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, saying Friday March 22, 2019, the statement was irresponsible and a threat to international peace and stability - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.10.2021
Oct. 11, 2018, an Israeli flag in front of the village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syria slammed President Donald Trump's abrupt declaration that Washington will recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, saying Friday March 22, 2019, the statement was "irresponsible" and a threat to international peace and stability
The US administration under Donald Trump issued a presidential directive recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the territory in 2019, but the move was criticized by the European Union, Russia, and numerous other countries.
The region includes the western two-thirds of the geological Golan Heights and the Israeli-occupied part of Mount Hermon.
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