12:39 GMT17 April 2021
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Syria has the right to return the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel for over 50 years, by any means possible, and the military option is not excluded, the director of the Golan Heights Department in the Syrian government, Midhat Saleh, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    "The Golan Heights is an integral part of the Syrian territory. We have the right to return this land at any time and by any means which we consider necessary. In my opinion, the only language which Israel understands is the language of force and resistance", Saleh said.

    According to him, Syria hopes that the international community will be able to put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

    READ MORE: The Golan Heights: Are They Gone From Syria for Good?

    "We are now at war with Israel, and we have [this] right since Israel does not recognise international resolutions and UN Security Council resolutions, while the United States supports Israel in this. We have the right to return the Golan Heights in the most fitting way for us, including via war or popular resistance. This is our right guaranteed by international resolutions", the official insisted, adding that for more than 50 years all decisions and resolutions remained only on paper.

    Saleh also said that over half a million refugees who have fled the Israeli-occupied territory of Golan Heights and are currently living in various parts of Syria, while only 26,000 are still remaining there.

    The issue of the Golan Heights, a strategically important landlocked area in between Israel's northeastern border and Syria's southwest, was raised in March this year after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order formally recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on 25 March. The move was condemned by the UN, with numerous countries, including US allies refusing to follow Washington.

    The Golan Heights has been mostly under Israel's control since Israel seized the area after the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1981, Israel adopted a law that officially annexed the territory, but the United Nations very soon declared the legislation as "null and void and without international legal effect".


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