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The Occupied Golan Heights in the Words of President Hafez Al-Assad

"Our will for peace is boosted by determination on the liberation, restoration of rights and on safeguarding national dignity. It was our keenness on the peace process as well as on securing security and stability in the region which, time and again, motivated us to keep on announcing our preparedness to resume peace negotiations from where they broke off and on the basis of acknowledging what the previous two Israeli Premiers committed themselves to and on the same bases of the UN Security Council Resolutions and the principle of land for peace," His Excellency has ever called for the establishment of a just balanced New World order in which" Neither the strong control others with their strength nor the weak are weakened by their weakness."

"We Want the Mediterranean to be a sea of peace and friendship where seagulls fly, ships of amity sail not warplanes of killing and destruction,’’

Lattakia, 1987,

An Extract from the late President’s Speech at the inauguration of the third Legislative Term of the People’s Assembly on November 16, 1981

"Israel has wrought havoc in the occupied territories, oppressing our people and turning their lives into hell. But our people are putting up heroic resistance to this aggression. They are standing unarmed in the face of the occupying oppressors, confirming everyday all over the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan that they are holding firm to their own rights and those of their peoples and nations, and that they will keep on resisting the occupation until it is eliminated. We assure our people in the occupied territory, as we have previously done, that we will strive together until they rejoin us and we reunite with them.""

An Extract from The President’s interview granted to the British Daily "The Observer" on March 2, 1982


In the Golan Cause, Mr. President, you have won a victory in the UN, but this, in my opinion, will not help you regain the region, what is your next step, on the Syrian, Arab and international levels?

Late President’s Answer:

"Our battle with Israel, as it has been commonly known to every one now, is a long one. The Golan occupation, annexation or liberation is but a step in the long battle. We don’t doubt for a moment that we will regain our rights, regardless of how long it takes, because aggression everywhere in the world is destined to retreat and fail. We are rightful in our position, and we have been attacked. We have prove and moral potentials which , if well used and managed by us, will enable us in the long run to fully regain our rights."


Do you feel, Mr. President, that the USA has turned you down? When you met with President Carter in Geneva in 1977, it was plain that things were moving on smoothly between you. Ever since that time, the relations deteriorated; there were the Strategic Cooperation Accord with Israel and the veto against the decision on the Golan. You accuse the USA of interfering with your internal affairs. Is it possible to say that your relations with the USA are at their lowest and that you consider it as a hostile enemy State?

Late President’s answer:

"I have previously said more than once that I had good and positive impressions at the end of the meeting with President Carter, but what happened after the meeting has clearly confirmed that the USA does not have an American policy in the Region, but is implementing an Israel police. We can give many examples which confirm this."

Extract from the President’s Message to the 2nd Conference on Combating Against Racism and Racial Discrimination Geneva, July 30, 1983

"The Israeli racist Regime racism is manifesting its ugliest forms by exercising its racial practices in the West bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan. It continues confiscating Arab lands to build its settlements, applies racial discrimination against the Arabs who are the owners of the lands, plunder their life resources and violate all their rights as enshrined in International law."

Extract from the President’s Message to the UN Committee on Palestinian People’s rights November 29, 1983

"Ever since its foundation, Israel has committed a long series of savage assaults against the Arab Countries. It has openly and frequently expressed its intentions and objectives to control the region. The most recent of instances on such Israeli policy are its decisions on annexing Arab Jerusalem and the Arab Golan territory annexation and the invasion of Lebanon with all the brutal actions of assassination and destruction that it carried along, besides the attempts to deprive Lebanon of its independence, sovereignty, and its territorial integrity by means of the agreement which the USA and Israel have endeavored to impose on it. Israel is held completely responsible for the Palestinian Arab People’s ordeal and displacing millions of Arabs from their homeland in Palestine, the Golan and Lebanon. It furthermore exercises the most disgusting forms of the policy of racial discrimination against Arab citizens all over the territories it is occupying. By the whole of its aggressive and expansionist practices, Israel has created an explosive situation in our Region which has perilous reflections against the world peace and security."

Extract from the President’s Message to the UN Women Conference Nairobi, July 15, 1985

"Thousands of women in the occupied Syrian Golan and Palestinian territories are daily suffering from the arbitrariness of Occupation, the arrest of their husbands, brothers and children who are being tortured in the Israeli occupation jails. In addition to suffering the Enemy’s racial practices applied against the people of the occupied territories."

Extract from the President’s Speech addressed to the Syrian Physicians residing in USA August 15, 1985

"The Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, standing at the Aqaba Gulf in 1967 and looking towards the Arabian Peninsula, said, " I smell my ancestors in their homeland which we aspire, and which we must regain". Moshe Dayan visited the Israeli soldiers after occupying the Golan in 1967 and told them that the Israelis who came before us had founded Israel in 1948, we have founded Israel in 1967 and you have to establish Greater Israel which is from the Nile to the Euphrates. It is unreasonable to displace people from their homeland in order to place another, or to plan for groups of people to be placed there. We are nowadays confronting a false myth which tries by force to came true. The talk about occupying the West bank and other Arab territories, that was going on before 1967, was opposed by the Arabs, the rightful owners of lands, inside and outside Syria. Yet Israel, nevertheless, occupied the whole of Palestine, the Golan and Sinai in 1967. In one of Israel’s expansionist stages that she wants to continue the detriment of the Arabs."

Extract from the President’s Message to the 12th General Conference Of The World Federation of Democratic Youth November 23, 1986

"This racist expansionist movement, which has in the past closely cooperated with the Apartheid Regime, its ally in South Africa, is still exercising oppression and terrorism against the Arab people in the Golan, the West bank, Gaza Strip an d the south of Lebanon, and receives the support of imperialism and colonialist forces, one campaign after another launched against Syria under the pretext that Syria helps terrorism, the name they use to describe the freedom-fighters who resist aggression and occupation while Israel is full engaged in the worst kind of state terrorism."

Extract from the President’s speech at the 25th Anniversary of the March 8th Revolution delivered on March 8, 1988

"Our people in the Golan are steadfast in their resistance to the Occupation. Our brothers in occupied Palestine are steadfast in their resistance, and our Arab Lebanese Brothers are steadfast too against the Occupation in South Lebanon. Your brothers and children in the Golan are still confronting the Enemy ever since the occupation, particularly after his attempt to impose the Zionist Nationality upon them. They have vigorously stood against its attempt. They remain steadfast in front of the Israeli pressure. The Enemy has failed and will always fail. Israel wants the Syrians of the Golan to be detached from their people and history and live without roots and heritage. The Zionist racism with its hatred to people in general and to the Arab nation in particular is pushing the Israelis to commit every crime in order to execute their abominable designs. But people can not detach themselves off their roots and histories. Your children and brethren start off from this reality. So, Our Syrian children and brothers in the Golan! can make sure that the Enemy understands that we are not asleep. Today we are here and the forthcoming day is ours with confidence and certainty."

Extract from the late President’s speech at the dinner banquet given by the President and Mrs. Hafez Al-Assad in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Gandhi on June 4, 1988

"The resistance to the Occupation in the Syrian Golan territory, the Intifada of the Palestinian Arab People in its occupied territories and the continuous resistance in South of Lebanon are the natural outcome of the continuity of occupation. This resistance is a national duty practiced by any person whose land is occupied, and is practiced by the Arab people in the Golan, South Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Aggressors must understand that brutal methods of subjugation and repression shall not suppress the spirit of resistance in the People and shall not impose surrender on them."

Extract from the President’s speech to the Armed Forces at the 43rd anniversary of the Syrian Arab Army on August 1st, 1988

"The heroic battles you fought during the October War and then the War of the Golan and Mount Hermon have meant a great change. Through your magnificent performance, sacrifices and the blood of the martyrs, you have shattered the myth of the invincible army and smashed the Enemy’s self-conceit and arrogance. Also, you have proved both to the nation and the world that the Syrian Arab Forces are worthy of both their name and the mission they have assumed. In the name of our People and yours, I greet our kinsfolk in the Golan and assure them that the occupation is destined to disappear."

Extract from the joint press conference with Lebanese President Elias El-Hrawi on May 22, 1991

Question :

What about Sharon’s declaration claiming that the Israeli government wants to double amount of the settlements in the occupied Golan, and what are the effects of this on the peaceful march in the middle east and the international efforts exerted for this purpose?

President’s answer:

"Nothing because the peace process will either march as a whole or freeze as a whole. Israel is not just building settlements now only, but has been building settlements ever since the early comers of the invaders, It built them many years ago but this will not have any effect. The land is ours and, no one can ever swallow it however strong one’s stomach is, because Arab thorn can never be digested, not even Sharon's big stomach can."

Extract from the interview granted to The "Washington Post" and "Newsweek" the American Daily and Magazine on July 28, 1991


I am sure you understand that there is some ambiguity about your message to President Bush; there is a question asked: Has the USA given Syria any side guarantees or understanding about the Occupied Golan.

President’s answer:

"The USA has not given us any guarantees, but confirmed its commitment to the UN resolutions adopted in 1967, 1973 and the 1980’s. The USA has taken certain positioning, not only at the advent of the current Administration:

The former Administration had confirmed also the continuous commitment to those resolutions. We want no more from anyone. We demand the USA, the Soviet Union and the other permanent members of the Security Council, abide by what they have decided on or participated in deciding according to the UN resolutions. Particularly as all such states say that there is no way to realize peace other than through the UN resolutions."


Do you mean the return of all Arab lands is required in to such resolutions?

Late President’s answer:

"This is what the UN resolutions provide. As you know, both the USA and the Soviet Union have not recognized any measure previously taken by Israel as regards such lands. I would also like to recall that these position and resolutions were taken by previous administrations. The USA does not recognize the annexation of the Golan, and has previously rejected it, together with all other states."


Israel is wondering whether you are planning to enter into direct negotiations with her after the formal opening of the conference?

Late President’s answer:

"The delegations to the Conference will discuss issues specific to them; while the Syrian Delegation for instance will discuss the Golan Issue. Who will discuss such issue instead? No one, other than the Syrians, can discuss what relates to the Syrian territory. This is not new to my, attitude even previously, when we have been discussing the Peace Conference, it was obvious that it will split technically; there will be Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian geographical committees so that these delegations discuss their regional issues, but the peace process and the final outcome must be a comprehensive settlement , i.e. realization of peace between the various Arab Parties and Israel, other wise there will be no peace."


I believe that we don't think really that Israel is going to give up everything. Your Excellency is talking about UN resolutions. Do you believe that Israel will quit Gaza, Jerusalem, the Golan and the West bank? if she did would there be any space left for maneuvering or for security?

Late President’s answer:

"Was the World Community unjust when it decided that Israel must quit the occupied territories. Will then the map of the world be liable to change according to the whims of one maverick party in the international community."

Extract from the interview granted to American TV "ABC" on September 16, 1991.


Of course I understand that you will not negotiate with me, but you will negotiate in the Conference. Suppose that the Conference convened and an agreement on the Golan was reached, will this be sufficient to make peace with Israel?

Late President’s answer:

"The efforts currently exerted are based on the Security Council Resolutions N° 242 and N° 338 on the basis of realizing a comprehensive peace in the region. The Golan, as an occupied Syrian territory, shall be reinstated, within the framework of such comprehensive peace, to its natural status as part of Syrian territory. Upon implementing the comprehensive solution for the two Arab and Israeli sides, comprehensive peace will prevail and documents will be achieve peace process. This as you know will be decided within the Conference, the Israeli side on the one hand and the Arab side on the other.


Have you been promised by President Bush that he will exert pressure upon Israel to return the Golan? I know that he has informed you that he does not recognize the annexation of the Golan, but has he promised you to exert pressure upon Israel?

Late President’s answer:

"It is not only President Bush who talks about the Golan as a Syrian territory, but the successive American Administrations have always confirmed. President Bush is just by the American attitude as regarding the Golan issue and that of the occupied territories in general. At any rate, I do not believe that there is a man in the USA who accepts to live in illusion who says that peace will be recognized between the Arabs and Israel even if the occupation of the occupied Arab territories does not come to an end."

Extract from the interview granted to the American "Time" Magazine on November 13, 1992


Egypt was able, through negotiation, to regain Sinai, will Syria conduct similar negotiations with Israel through which it regains the Golan?

President’s answer:

"What is going on now ? Isn’t it negotiating? Are negotiations not being conducted between Syria and Israel?"


Is it possible to imagine an agreement signed with Israel under which Syria regains the Golan and the state of war is terminated, and leave other issues to be solved later?

Late President’s answer:

"Is this what you meant when you talked about Egypt? Peace is not, and must not be, realized at the expense of the territories of the others. What is the Arab motivation to work for peace if such peace will give their lands to Israelis? There are half a million displaced people from the Golan, how can we convince them that we have to give a part of the Golan to Israel?"


Do we understand that regaining the Golan is not sufficient, from your point of view, to give peace to Israel and that you want to wait until the West Bank is returned in order to give peace thereafter to Israel and sign with it a peace agreement?

Late President’s answer:

"We have not previously gone into details, and we do not want to at the moment. It is essential now that there must be an acknowledgment from everyone of what has been mentioned in the principles which have been adopted for building peace, before commencing of the peace process, namely the comprehensiveness of solution. Every side should have reassurance that we are heading towards the comprehensive settlement; each bilateral committee then will have its own job."


In case you are able to cut a deal or reach an arrangement about the Golan, whereas the other issues remain unsettled, will you keep talking about the comprehensive peace. Is it not possible to realize peace if everything is not achieved as a package?

Late President’s answer:

"All Arab parties are interested in the reassurance that comprehensive peace is coming. They realize that there are some particularities of each of the issues. One side may advance faster or slower than the other in case reassurance is available."


A compromise about any of the issues put for negotiations?

Late President’s answer:

"If you mean the Golan, there is no compromise as regards the land issue. This is an issue that the American Administration knows, written down on paper and known also by the Israelis. No one in Syria can relinquish an inch of the land; he who relinquishes a part of his land or sells out any part of his homeland is a betrayer of the people. This is an axiom believed by each Syrian citizen. When People judges that one is a betrayer, then one’s fate is known. I have this conviction. Therefore I say that compromise on land issue is out of question and not on our agenda. If you wander throughout Syria, from one end to the other, you will never find a Syrian who accepts a peace that leaves a part of the Golan in the hands of Israel."


"I understand from what you have said that the whole of the Golan should be returned to Syria. Is it possible, within such concept, that you can meet some of the Israeli security requirements?

Late President’s answer:

"The settlement, within the principles of the peace, should ensure security to all parties. This is one of the few points which have been agreed upon during the talks, namely the security arrangements must ensure security for both parties."


Can the Sinai Agreement be an example for a settlement? There is multi-national UN Force in Sinai after it has been regained, do you accept a similar thing in case you recover the Golan?

Late President’s answer:

"I don’t have now in mind all the details of the Sinai Agreement, but I agree with the American Official, and the Syrian Delegation agreed with the Israeli One during the talks, that there must be security arrangements for both parties. As regards the means and methods of realizing security there are no difficulties which can not be settled."


Is there then a great change in the Israeli position? in the past the Israelis insisted on keeping the land in order to realize and guarantee their own security?

Late President’s answer:

"What they say is one thing and their conviction is another. It is not true that they have seized the Golan for peace, because the occupation never gave them the security in the past nor can it give them security now."


If the Israelis are convinced now that geography does not give them peace, does this mean that a great change has come into the Israeli position?

Late President’s answer:

"They have been long convinced of this, ever since they occupied the Golan. Our delegation to the talks has heard something like this from them. They have previously said, after 1967, that they have seized the Golan in order to keep the Syrians away from the Israeli settlements, have they realized this? They have advanced 20 km, but the range of the guns, as you know, has been for many years much greater than this; they have not realized such objective which they have said they were heading for. Occupation of the Golan has not realized security to them. They have occupied the Golan in order to keep us away from the settlements, as they said, but they have introduced new settlements and built them one or two kilometers from the Syrian forces. This means that they have not occupied to keep us away from the settlements. Had their logic been accepted, they would have been entitled now to send us away from such new settlements in order to build up other new ones, and so endlessly on. This logic is rejected."


Do you expect more from Yitzhak Rabin than Shamir?

Late President’s answer:

"Rabin talks more. He talks about peace and partial withdrawal. The logic is different and the language is different, but if he maintains such logic, the result won’t be peace. We, as I have told you, can not relinquish our land. I believe that Rabin would lose his voters if he does not agree to total withdrawal from the Golan. There are parties and rabbis, among them is the Chief Rabbi, in Israel who call for withdrawal from the Golan and say that the Golan is not a part of "Eretz Ysrael". The Israeli government convened in 1967 and decided on withdrawal from Sinai, the Golan and the rest of the occupied territories in case peace is realized."

An Extract from the interview granted to media men at the conclusion of the President Assad talks with President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on March 27, 1993


What is Syria’s definition of the peace it wants in the light of the fact that Israel has not announced the volume of its withdrawal from the Golan while awaiting to know the quality and scope of the peace Syria wants?

Late President’s answer:

"By such announcement, Israel wants in the first instance, to impede the peace process. The Golan is a Syrian territory which is not connected with what they try to hint by their use of the expression scope of peace. The Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs has previously said what the negotiating Syrian delegation had also said that we want just peace in accordance with the UN resolutions; a peace that ensures stability in the region in which we all live."

Extract from the interview granted to media men at the conclusion of the President Assad talks with President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on March 27, 1993


What is Syria’s definition of the peace it wants in the light of the fact that Israel has not announced the volume of its withdrawal from the Golan while awaiting to know the quality and scope of the peace Syria wants?

Late President’s answer:

"By such announcement, Israel wants in the first instance, to impede the peace process. The Golan is a Syrian territory which is not connected with what they try to hint by their use of the expression scope of peace. The Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs has previously said what the negotiating Syrian delegation had also said that we want just peace in accordance with the UN resolutions; a peace that ensures stability in the region in which we all live."

Extract from the interview granted to the 1948-Palestinians Delegation headed by Mr. Abdul-Wahab Darawsheh on March 9, 1994

"The media in Israel continuously claims that Syria is threatening Israel’s security. The Israelis in the peace talks, until now, saying the same thing and some foreign visitors who come to meet us, talk about the Golan and its threats to Israel’s security. We refer them to the UN documents and the decisions of the Mixed Armistice commission relative to the clashes along the Syrian-Israeli Front since 1948. All such decisions, except for one or two on which differences exist, condemn Israel. They are more than one hundred documents."

Extract from the President’s Statement delivered at the People’s Palace at the conclusion of the President’s talks with the American President Bill Clinton on October 27, 1994

"I have assured President Clinton that, based on the principle of total withdrawal for total peace, Syria is ready to commit itself to the objective peace requirements as regards establishing normal peace relations with Israel, in return for Israel’s full withdrawal from the Golan up to the lines of June 4th, 1967 and from South Lebanon."

Extract from the President’s Statement delivered at the People’s Palace at the conclusion of the President’s talks with the American President Bill Clinton on October 27, 1994

"I have assured President Clinton that, based on the principle of total withdrawal for total peace, Syria is ready to commit itself to the objective peace requirements as regards establishing normal peace relations with Israel, in return for Israel’s full withdrawal from the Golan up to the lines of June 4th, 1967 and from South Lebanon."

Extract from the interview granted to media men at the conclusion of the President’s talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak in Damascus on December 1st, 1994


We want to know exactly about what points of difference exist in the Syrian-Israeli peace project. We hear from the Israeli Side but not from the Syrian Side. What are exactly the points of difference? Is it true what some American sources spoke about a possible presence of American peacekeepers in the Golan? Is it good for the Arabs that we are not told clearly by a Syrian official what precisely are the points of difference?

President’s answer:

"As regards the American peacekeepers, no one has discussed the matter with us we hear about it as you do, and read about it as you do; we will give our opinion when it is discussed with us. As for the points of difference between us and Israel regarding the peace process, I prefer that people ask about points of agreement between us. We have not agreed upon any thing yet. We have only headlines : withdrawal, peace, security. And there is no agreement on any of them. I think I can give you something from my own. I Thank my Brother President Mubarak for his visit and our meeting today because it was very useful, just like all other previous meetings between me and him. I, however, reiterate, as we previously have done, that our relations are very solid, and will continue to be so God Willing. "

Extract from the interview granted to media men at the conclusion of the President’s talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak in Damascus on June 1st 1995


There is now talk about two points; Israel is speaking about withdrawal to the international lines in the Golan, and you are speaking about withdrawal to the line of June 4th, Israel is also speaking about the necessity of raising up the negotiating level, particularly after the final security arrangements are achieved. What is the Syrian position as regards these two issues?

President’s answer:

"First, we have not yet reached an agreement as regards the withdrawal issue. Syria’s position is, of course, known and obvious , namely we strongly adhere to, and will not give up, the line of June 4th, 1967. All who are dealing with the peace process know this conviction, namely, that Syria will never accept less than this. This issue is decided, at least for us. As regards the second issue, I believe that negotiating is being conducted on a high level; who is negotiating? There is an American intermediate who comes to meet with us, and goes to the other party to meet also with the top of them. We do not have a higher level, they also do not have a higher level, hence the level is high; I know that they may say that this is not a real negotiating, and that this is rounds that are made from time to time and at long intervals, but this is so far the suitable system. This matter , as I know, is not discussed now as it has been during previous periods. At any rate, peace is peace, whether it comes through an ambassador, a head of state or his minister of foreign affairs."

Extract from the interview granted at the conclusion of the joint press conference with Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on September 3rd, 1995


It seems now that there are some obstacles on the Syrian - Israeli track of peace negotiations, and that there is news said about Syria’s rejection of proposals relative to surveillance and other issues in the Golan. What is currently the Syrian positions as regards the Syrian track?

Late President’s answer:

"We all, no doubt, know that this track is in a stalemate. The Israelis and most of their demands are outside the framework of the international resolutions. Syria wants to work within the framework of the international resolutions, not beyond. Of course it is not expected that we go into details of the issues and give examples, but we can simply say that deviation of any side from the framework of the international resolutions means that it does not support, the peace process which is based on these resolutions. Syria is committed to and abiding by the international resolutions which it has agreed upon."

The Liberation War of October for Just Peace

The late President, Hafez Assad confirmed that Syria’s objective is to restore the usurped rights; " We have fought in order to restore the land and rights. The struggle has been carried on to realize such objective. The wars we have fought and sacrificed for were not for the sake of exercising our strength or for the mere love of strife. We have always fought, to defend our right and dignity and to free the land.", "We want the honorable peace that will be acceptable to our peoples and will not cede a grain of our Homeland. It is the peace under which neither our rights will be relinquished nor the dignity of our Nation will be neglected".

The preparation stages were confined to Syria and Egypt being the two Countries capable of stirring the military and political situation under the general and particular circumstances prevailing at the time. It was obvious that any war to be waged against Israel would be a limited one because the international community would not support the Arabs further than liberating the territories occupied in 1967. It was by the end of 1972 that Syria and Egypt thought of the preparations for initiating the battle. Egypt set up the "Planning Commission" which was instructed to immediately consider the Israeli military potentials. After exhausting studies, it was concluded that the Israeli army’s fighting capabilities were based on four basic factors:

• A powerful air force,

• Adequate equipment and logistics living active support of land and marine forces,

• A reliance on the USA in risky times, and

• Training programs that ensure the highest technical standard of the warriors.

The following basic negative phenomena appeared in the meantime on the Israeli military situation:

• The control of vast territories resulted in very long transportation roads between the battle fields and the basic concentration points.

• The limited population potential necessarily imposed a limited fighting capability for a limited span of time.

• The economy which depended on foreign support and subsidy found itself unable to stand a long fighting period.

• The long disconnected fighting lines left vast open gaps of land full of Arabs who obviously opposed to the occupation.

Consultations continued until Syria agreed, in the meeting held in Damascus on June 12, 1973 between the two Presidents Hafez Al-Assad and Anwar Al-Sadat, to hold talks with the Egyptian side to set the bases of coordination between the Syrian and Egyptian armies. Soon after, both sides approved the plan of attacking Israel simultaneously from the north and south. The military operations coordinators initiated the first step early in February 1973 by working within one strategy to train the armed forces and provide them with a variety of equipment and weaponry necessary for the fight this required sophisticated weapons and advanced technological equipment to encounter the Israeli army. The Soviets agreed, in May 1973, to provide Syria and Egypt with the requested weaponry and to finalize the construction of a ground-to-air missile network similar to that available in Egypt. In the meantime Syria received the modern T-62 tanks, modern interceptor modified MIG-21MF planes.

Egypt, on the other hand, got a sufficient quantity of weapons which included planes, tanks, guided missiles and various ammunition. Hence the units dedicated to the war were ready and provided with the sophisticated weaponry awaiting the zero-hour which would be foreseen by such coordinators to be 14h00 on October 6th, 1973:

• Upon realizing, by the morning of October 6th, 1973 that the War was inevitably breaking out shortly, the Israeli Command put at alert only the regular forces and compulsory units of 95,000 men besides the most important personnel of the reserve fighting forces (commanders only ) taking for granted that the regular army, supported by the air force, would be able to quickly deal with the events to take place along the fronts of fight. The Government held a session on October 5th, 1973 attended by the Chief-of Staff, to discuss the extraordinary circumstances and the Arab military movements as indicated by the Intelligence reports the session called for the utmost alert of regular and compulsory units besides the important personnel of the fighting reserve forces only. This implied the excessive self confidence and belittling of the other side strength.

• The high-ranking war generals, headed by the two Generals Moshe Dayan and David Ali’azar, so belittled and completely disregarded the Arab military preparations that they declared that the Israeli army would surely be able to defeat and crush, within 48 hours, any attack through the Suez Canal. This was confirmed by the Israelis on the assumption that it would take Egyptians 24 hours to build up bridges and another 24 hours to cross the Canal, which would give them enough time to call for the strategic Israeli reserve forces to newly defeat the Egyptians and compel them to yield to the Israeli conditions.

• Air photos, taken few hours before the attack, showed the enforcement on the Arab lines and the huge military movements along the other side. The Israeli political officials and war generals did not assume their responsibility and behave as required under such extraordinary circumstances.

All the above however did not mean that Israel was taken by complete surprise , which was clearly indicated by Dayan’s visit on 26 September 1973 to the Occupied Golan due to his fears of renewal fight and at the information he received about Syria’s intention to carry out a limited military action in the north. At the end of such visit, Dayan interfered with the tasks of his subordinate military commanders and instructed the north region Commander to increase the number of forces concentrated in the Golan and to double the number of the tanks and other weaponry at the first front line in order to confront any Syrian attempt.

President Hafez Al-Assad confirmed in this respect that Israel was expecting a battle when he said, "I want to clear a point which must never be obscure to those who want to objectively and impartially write the history of the October War. The Arab attack has not been completely surprising to the enemy. This has been brought to us through the statements of the prisoners of war who have confirmed that their commands have been aware of the attack before it has occurred".

On the afternoon of 6 October 1973, at exactly 14 h 05, the Egyptian Southern Front forces and the Syrian Northern front forces launched the war against Israel on both the Egyptian and Syrian fronts, complete surprise was achieved, giving the Arabs a strong initial advantage and headed to the occupied Syrian Golan and Al-Houleh Plain to bomb their targets. Squadrons of such warplanes succeeded in hitting the Israeli concentrations and camps in Sheria Shafe and Mishmar Hyrden in Al-Houleh plain, whereas many others concentrated their attacks on the Israeli camps and military settlements in the Occupied Golan. At that very moment, the Helicopters full of commandos headed for their targets in the Mt. Hermon "Israeli" impregnable position, the Israeli Forces Head Quarter in Kafr Naffakh and other targets in the Occupied Golan. When the Israeli warplanes interfered, many air battles took place between the Syrian and Israeli warplanes over South of Lebanon, the Golan and Al-Houleh Plain.

The land attack was initiated on the same day by three infantry legions of 60,000 soldiers enforced with 600 modern T-54, T-55 and T-62 Russian tanks. The following forces were left behind, as a reserve of the Command-in-Chief which could be used upon need:

• Two armored legions

• Enforced armored brigade of the Defense Detachments and

• Many infantry battalions enforced with tanks.

The Syrian artillery began the liberation process with heavy shelling of about 1,000 guns of different calibres. The Syrian attack was a blitzkrieg. The Syrian forces, enforced with an Arab Moroccan brigade, advanced in huge numbers succeeding defeating the Israeli tanks. They were encountered on the other side by two Israeli armored brigades , and two mechanical infantry in addition to extra backing troops. The Israeli defensive lines consisted of a long trench, 4 m deep by 4 m wide, with a soil wall along its western side; to prevent the tanks from proceeding, in addition to mine fields and barbed wires. The Syrian commandos, air-borne in MI-8 Helicopters, landed near the "Israeli" impregnable strategically-important position in Mt. Hermon. The attacking force, consisting of two Syrian commando detachments, succeeded in surprising the Israeli forces at two infantry detachments enforced with some armored vehicles. The Syrian force controlled the position with the least losses, captured the defending force and seized the electronic equipment and devices as well as the sophisticated telescopes which were used by Israelis to monitor the movements of the Arab Forces and scout their positions. The Syrian Forces dashed in the Golan along three main axis. According to the analysts, the Israelis were much anxious by the Syrian attack than the Egyptian crossing operation of the Suez Canal and smashing of Bar-Lev defenses Line. The Syrian forces, in the southern sector, penetrated as far as El’al Village ; 32 km behind the enemy lines.

For better understanding of the nature and value of the military operations on the Syrian Front, it is quite vital to quickly review to the situation of this Front in the aftermath of the 1967-War. The Israeli forces built strong defensive posts in the Occupied Golan and anti-tank trenches along the cease-fire line about 1 km away on the Israeli side. It stretched along the confrontation line from the northern to the southern sector and enforced with a parallel soil wall from the Israeli side. Due to its importance, the Israeli forces concentration in such posts was very heavy in order to ward off any Syrian attack and prevent Syrian forces from restoring the Golan, or at least not to give them a place to easily attack such sector. It is important to mention that the fall of such sector would greatly affect the general situation in the whole of the Golan.; because it would give the Syrian force the possibility to descend southwards and turn around the Israeli lines along the mid and southern sectors besides the resultant complications throughout the Heights. Such complications would be obviously embodied with threats to the occupied northern Israel, Al-Houleh Plain and upper Hebron, not to mention the control of water sources emptying into the Jordan River. This sector technically allows the Israel forces free maneuvering and movement; a defensive position could be taken in case of a successful attack and a watchful control of both the Syrian forces and the middle and southern sectors.

Israel began the rapid mobilization of its reserve forces, the highly trained and numerically most important part of its defensive system. But before they could play an effective part, Egyptian armed forces had occupied the east bank of the canal to depth of several miles and by the third day were advancing to the strategic Mitla pass in Sinai at 16h15 on 6 October 1973, the Israeli Broadcasting Service stopped its programs to transmit, in Hebrew, the statement of the Israeli army spokesman who announced that, "The Syrian and Egyptian Forces have initiated at 14h05 today their air and land attacks on the Occupied Golan and Sinai. After a series of air raids on our positions and camps, the Egyptian infantry troops have begun the land attack and succeeded in crossing the Suez Canal in many points. The Syrian forces have begun a tank and infantry attack along the front of the Occupied Golan. Air and land battles are still going on."

The Syrian tactics seemed unexpected to the Israelis in the north with an attack of three infantry legions enforced with 800 tanks, 100 field guns and 100 warplanes, with the objective of quick penetration to the furthest depth and destruction of the Israeli forces available there.

On the south, the Egyptian forces of five legions, 800 tanks and 200 warplanes, were hurled into the battle.

In order to ward off the attacks, the Israeli Command ordered its air force to interfere. 40 minutes after the Arab attack, 70 Israeli warplanes soared in the south to destroy the bridges which were, or being, constructed and hit the Egyptian forces in order to impede their crossing of the Suez Canal. The Israeli objective was to stop the stream of the Egyptian forces across the Canal and keep them confined within the limits which would safeguard the defending forces until the strategic reserve reached.

• The Syrian anti-aircraft defensive network played a magnificent role in the War and achieved great success in the confrontations with the Israeli planes. The losses it inflicted upon them were so huge that the Israeli Air Force Command was quickly compelled to resort to the USA in order to compensate for the great shortage in the number of its planes which made the situation on the Fronts very much critical, confusing and worrying.

• The directed modern ground-to-ground, ground-to-air, air-to-air, air-to-ground and various anti-tank weapons which were successfully used by the two sides along with the astounding results recorded in the War.

• The use of the Arab oil as weapon for the first time in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict resulted in effective and active results. President Hafez Al-Assad said in this concern that, "If this gives any meaning, it is the truth of the Arab unity, and that our Nation is alive. Its unity and liveliness appear most magnificently during catastrophes and hardships". His Excellency confirmed that our steadfastness during the Liberation War started to give the motto of "battle nationalization" its applicable actual meaning. The President thanked the sisterly Iraqi Forces whose soldiers fought as heroes against the enemy and whose bloods mingled with those of their brothers of the Syrian and Moroccan Forces. His Excellency thanked all participating Arab Forces which, by such participation, actually expressed the nationalization of the battle.

The Tishreen War has revealed a series of historical facts, imposed the reorganization of international formulas, established new type of relations and eliminated many false statements. The Tishreen spirit still exists in spite of by opposed powers endless, efforts to eliminate its traces. Tishreen War proved a basic fact embodied by the rejection and confrontation of the aggression. It is still continuing in a way or another. It won’t fade away until it fulfills all its objectives of liberating the territories, restoration of rights and consequently realize the security and peace. Political action came to complement military action, as apart of struggle. It is within this framework that Syria has agreed on the peace initiative based to the two Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the "land for peace" Principle.

The Israeli concept is related to aggressive expansion. Expressing the Israeli concept of peace, Moshe Dayan said, "The peace that Israel wants was achieved in 1967. We are endeavoring to establish an informal peace with the Arabs. We are not in need of official peace. If we are trying to replace the Big Powers in the Area, we must have canine teeth which should be military, economic and geographical ones". on its head on 6 October 1973; the myth was undone, the earthquake knocked down Israeli made Israel lose its balance. To enable Israel and its army escape the eradicative defeat, America openly and directly interfered on the fourth day of the War. The most modern weapons were abundantly and incessantly sent to Israel from the American arsenal on a flow which was not match able along the history of wars. 

A Glimpse of History

Currently, the number of the people expelled from Golan by Israeli in 1967 has exceeded 400.000, distributed throughout the Syrian cities, in temporary settlements. At a time when primitive man living in the old Stone Age, or what was known as the Paleolithic period, 1600 depended on animal hunting for survival in various part of the world where he was found, It has been discovered that the man living at the same period in south Syria depended on means of agriculture. For Archeologists have proved that it was in Syria that agriculture and the domestication of animals began. This was thanks to the availability of two grains important to early man wild barley and wheat, and the existence of the earliest domesticated animals; goats, sheep and cattle in the same general area. The following period was known as "Neolithic" and can be divided into "Pre-Pottery Neolithic", when man discovered the making of bricks and thus built houses made of bricks. The earliest Neolithic Levels are dated to 7000 BC. And after nearly 1000 year, man molded clay to make pottery.

And just like the rest of Syria, the Golan was inhabited by various people. And it is certain from records which have survived times, that the population of the Golan was of Arab Semitic origin. (Not forgetting the outside foreign invaders that occupied the region from the time to time such as the Pharaons, Greeks, Romans and crusaders). Those Arab Semitic people were the Canaanite, the Amorite around 3rd to 2nd millennium, the Aramaean who appeared towards the end of the 2nd millennium. The Arab-Muslim Liberation of Syria was accomplished easily. Hardly fighters, united in their creed and boundless in their ambition, they permanently removed the region from the Byzantine control. The Muslims fought a triumphant battle in the Yarmouk Valley  the "Yarmouk Battle" in the 7th century, after gaining control over Damascus.

Among the historians and archeologists who reported about the Golan are Schomar confirmed in his study the existence of ancient population settlements in the Golan and listed over 100 archeological sites, (Schomar, The Golan, London 1899, English Edition, P. 304), Oarman defined (in one of his studies) 211 sites that dated back to the Roman and Byzantine Periods. He mentioned the existence of many sites which confirmed that the Golan had been inhabited since the Stone Age. The Golan was mentioned in the region’s history of polities and civilization since the days of Egypt’s Pharaohs, Kings of Al-Sham and Mesopotamia. The Golan was mentioned in the cuneiform documents discovered in Mesopotamia. The Golan was mentioned in Greek and Roman geographical writings, such as those of Flavius Youseifus (73 - 100 AD), Izius of Quissaria (263 - 339 AD) and Saint Jeerom (345 - 420 AD). The Golan was mentioned in many works of Arab geographers, such as Al-Massoudi, Al-Maqdissi, Abi Fida’a, Yacout and others.

There are many other contemporary sources about the Golan, such as R. Dessaut who published a book, in Paris in 1927, about Syria and another, in 1906, about Arabs in Syria before Islam. Mr. Von Onhaim who published in 1941 a book titled the Bedouins in Syria; and Depaont Somar who published in Paris in 1949 a book about the Arameans.

The Golan is a geographical area that represents a region at the core of Natural Syria (i.e. the Sham countries included Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon). The Golan territory is the heart of AL Sham Countries because it is a part of what is called Middle Syria. The Golan has only experienced so abnormal status, as the current one, when it came under the Crusader invasion of Palestine. The Crusader occupation of the Golan came to an end after a 2-century heroic struggle. Hereunder is a brief summary of the Golan’s historical period:

• During the 3rd Millennium BC the Amorites dominated and inhabited the Golan until the 2nd Millennium when they were substituted by the Arameans who were tribes of Arab origin. No sociopolitical entity had preceded the Amorites, Kan’anians and Arameans.

• In the 2nd Millennium, the Aramean kingdom was established in the Golan. The Kingdom of Aram Soaba’s influence in Albeq’a reached Upper Golan, whereas Rahoub Kingdom dominated Mid Litany River bed, and Bait Ma’keh ruled between Yarmouk Valley to the south and Damascus to the north.

• In 732 BC Damascus was conquered by the Assyrians. The Golan therefore was first annexed to the Assyrian Empire, then to the Caledonian one.

• During the Hellenic (Greek) period, a Kingdom was established in Syria under the Slouches Family taking Antioch as its capital. The Golan was disputed between the Syrian Kingdom and the Egyptian one under Batlimus Family.

• In the 1st Century BC the Anbatian Arabs ruled the Golan and the rest of South Syria from Sinai to Damascus.

• In the 1st Century AD the Romans ruled Syria and dominated over Golan, but the Syrians have by that time much progress in civilization and culture.

• In the 4th Century AD, the Ghassanian Arabs established an Arab Kingdom that included the Golan beside other areas and contributed to the development of the Golan inhabitants. The Ghassanian Arab Princes were independent, but administratively reported to the Syrian State capital in Antioch. It seemed that there was an agreement between the Romans and Ghassanian Arabs in that arrangement.

• Alhareth, the Ghassanian, assumed in 529 AD the position of the FILARKH of the First and Second Palestinian States, spreading his influence as far as the Euphrates and Palmyrian Desert including North Depression, Albalkaa’, Horan, the Golan and Albeqa’ beside the greater part of Lebanon and Palestine. Alhareth was called a King in the Syrianic Sources and, in the Byzantine Sources, a Patriarch was the second rank in the State.

Courtesy: Syrian National Information Center