Only crossing between Israel and Syria reopens after four years

Only crossing between Israel and Syria reopens after four years
The Quneitra crossing's reopening is a major boon to the Russia- and Iran-backed Syrian regime, which is keen to broadcast its military victories over rebel groups.
2 min read
15 October, 2018
UN peacekeepers at the Quneitra crossing [Getty]

The only border crossing between Syria and Israel reopened on Monday, according to an AFP correspondent on the ground, for the first time in four years.

Two UN white jeeps crossed into Israeli-controlled territory through the reopened crossing near Quneitra in the Golan Heights after a deal between Israel, Syria and the UN.

The reopening of the crossing is a major boost to the Syrian regime, keen on broadcasting that it is slowly emerging victorious in the seven-year-old civil war. 

On Sunday, Israel's military announced that the UN has decided to return its peacekeeping force, known as UNDOF, to the Quneitra crossing area. The crossing will be used exclusively for UN forces, it added.

The Syrian regime escorted media to the crossing Monday.

Syrian forces recaptured the Quneitra area in July. Russian military police deployed in the area, including on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, setting up checkpoints in the area. Moscow said it planned to work closely with the UN force.

Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community.

UNDOF deployed to the area in 1974.

Meanwhile, on Monday Jordan separately reopened its main border crossing with Syria in a further boon to the regime.

The Syrian war began in 2011 when Assad deployed military forces against peaceful protesters demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria. 

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