Israeli 'terrorism' threatens Middle East, Syria tells UN

Israeli "terrorism" threatens the entire Middle East, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told the United Nations on Saturday.

In his address before the annual UN General Assembly in New York, Muallem said that Syria is not only fighting “mercenary terrorists on its territory” as it's civil war stretches into its sixth year, but also “has long confronted a different kind of terrorism; the terrorism of Israel that has occupied a precious part of our land in the Syrian Golan since 4 June 1967.”

The “oppressive and aggressive practices,” of Israel, he charged, “are no longer confined to the Occupied Golan, and are currently affecting the security and life of Syrians in the southern part of the country."

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, mortar shells have exploded periodically inside Israeli territory, causing damage but no injuries.

While most were presumed to be stray shots, Israel has accused Syria of aiming at Israeli targets on several occasions, briefly returning fire.

The IDF has said that it holds the Syrian regime, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responsible for any aggression coming from its territory.

These Israeli strikes “assist in every way the terrorist organizations operating in that area,” Muallem told the UN.

“Syria reaffirms that Israel’s aggressive policies do not only threaten Syria but the whole region, especially given Israel’s nuclear arsenal," he added.

Muallem also addressed the United States in his speech, rejecting US claims that a coalition strike on Syrian soldiers a week ago was unintentional, saying it was "not an error."

Muallem hit said his government "holds the United States fully responsible" for the September 17 coalition strike on a Syrian army base "because facts show that it was an intentional attack, and not an error, even if the United States claims otherwise."

Dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed in the bombing of the Syrian air base near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, which is controlled by Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The United States has expressed regret for the loss of lives, saying the coalition believed it was hitting an IS target and has promised to investigate the incident.

Muallem said his government was committed to the UN-led peace process, but slammed Western-backed opposition fighters for crimes that "are no less barbaric" than those carried out by IS and Al-Qaida jihadists.

The minister hit out at Qatar and Saudi Arabia, accusing them of "sending into Syria thousands of mercenaries, equipped with the most sophisticated weapons" to fight President Bashar al-Assad's government.

He said Turkey was allowing "tens of thousands of terrorists from all around the world" to cross its border into Syria, providing them with logistical support and training camps "under the supervision of Turkish and western intelligence."

He went on to hail Russia, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah as Syria's "true friends".

"Our belief in victory is even greater now that the Syrian Arab Army is making great strides in its war against terrorism, with the support of the true friends of the Syrian people, notably the Russian federation, Iran and the Lebanese national resistance," Muallem said.

"We, in Syria, are combating terrorism on behalf of the whole world," he added.

More than 300,000 people have died in the conflict in Syria and millions have been driven from their homes.

By i24news


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