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Violence on the Syrian-Israeli Border; Mass Grave Found Near Dara’a (VIDEO)

Violence on the Syrian-Israeli Border; Mass Grave Found Near Dara’a (VIDEO)

The violence on the Syrian-Israeli border on Sunday could signal a change in the Syrian government’s strategy as popular protests continue among its citizens into a third month, says the New York Times. The Syrian-Israeli border had been relatively quiet for the past 37 years but Sunday’s demonstrations in the Golan Heights — which Israel seized in 1974 — and elsewhere on Syria’s borders, including that with Lebanon, “could augur a new phase of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and the web of international relations he is navigating.” 

The White House has accused Syria of provoking clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian demonstrators to divert attention from Syria’s brutal crackdown of the uprising within its own borders. The Syrian government has so far blamed the protests that started in the southern city of Dara’a in March on foreigners and armed groups backed by Islamists.

Four people were killed by Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights on Sunday. But the very fact that the authoritarian Syrian government, which severely limits access to the area and to its borders, allowed protesters to venture there is notable. This was the first time in President Bashar al-Assad’s 11-year reign that he has “demonstrated to Israel, the region and world that in an uprising that has posed the greatest threat to his family’s four decades of rule, he could provoke war to stay in power.” Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian dissident and visiting scholar at George Washington University, underscored this point:

“It’s a message by the Syrian government for Israel and the international community: If you continue the pressure on us, we will ignite the front with Israel.”

As the New York Times observes, with Syria’s troops deployed throughout the country to put down protests in several cities and towns, the country is not at all able to go to war. A relatively poor nation with a population far smaller than Egypt, Syria has “long played an assertive role in the region by making itself a linchpin” among Middle Eastern nations. 

Indeed, it is thought that one reason the US and other nations have not demanded Assad’s ouster as they have that of other Arab leaders including Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi is because Assad has kept the border with Israel quiet. Syria’s closest ally is Iran and the US has long sought to “lure away” Syria from this alliance.

Al-Jazeera reports that Syria has been tightening its surveillance of its borders and has sent 15 tanks to its border with Lebanon. According to activists, on Monday tanks deployed around Arida, near the Jisr al-Qomar border crossing point with northern Lebanon.

The Guardian also reports that three Syrian soldiers who accompanied refugees crossing the border and who defected to Lebanon have been handed over to Syrian authorities by the Lebanese military. Activists say the Syrian soldiers are likely face torture and execution.

In Dara’a, villagers dug out 13 bodies from a mass grave; five of the bodies were children. “It was not clear when they died,” says the Guardian, and the reports could not be independently confirmed because of the government’s tight control of reporting. However, video footage “appeared to show the decomposed bodies of children lying in recently turned earth.”

The video below shows people uncovering mass graves near Dara’a.

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

At Least 12 Killed as Palestinians Breach Israel’s Borders on Nakba Day (VIDEO)

Syrian Government Vows to Fight Protesters “To the End”

Women & Children Among Hundreds Arrested in Syria; Is Iran Aiding Assad? (VIDEO)

Breaking: NATO left 61 Africans Fleeing Libya To Die At Sea – VIDEO

Three Women Shot by Security Forces in Syria (VIDEO)

 

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Photo: Map of Israel, Lebanon and Syria from Wikimedia Commons

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22 comments

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7:18PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Shooting live ammunition at attackers is called self defense. This is hard for many to understand but Israelis have aright to defend themselves. If anyone in the world shoots at attackers it is understandable only Jews are suppose to die without a whimper. NEVER AGAIN. Get use to the idea.

11:44PM PDT on May 27, 2011

Seems many bloggers don't believe in people standing up for human rights. It must be terrible if you can't think for yourself.

4:22AM PDT on May 19, 2011

True and honest reporting of the facts seem to be a problem with a lot of the comments made here. I don't believe that some of you are getting the truth of the situation. There's certainly blame to go around but you should fact check before pronouncing hate and misinformation.

3:55AM PDT on May 18, 2011

The world should support Israel now more than ever. It is an island of democracy and reletive stability in a sea of dictatorships and chaos.

3:02AM PDT on May 18, 2011

There is always an interesting pattern on Care2 comments that emerges at any mention of "Israel". The usual bunch of mentally challenged freewheeling fakers leap out of the wood work spouting there highly emotional words of infinite wisdom. The on-going struggle that they seem to have with English grammar or spelling suggests that either they were deprived of education or English is not their first language. They also seem to have a problem using Google or other search engines to research their supporting facts. This is indicated by evidence showing that their research is apparently, limited to sites like those run by Hamas, Taliban and the Iranian government.

2:43AM PDT on May 18, 2011

May sickness, war, famine and suffering be decreased for every being, while may wisdom and compassion increase in this and every future life.

5:28PM PDT on May 17, 2011

Keep up the great work Syria and take out Israhell as they continue to kill whomever they want an get away with it...If all you countries brought war against them, we would all be better off in this world...so take them out as they took your loved ones out...that your digging up the jews did it...make them pay

4:50PM PDT on May 17, 2011

It's ridiculous when Neil A refers to a country defending its own border as "the essence of apartheid." Apartheid was a policy in South Africa that denied the rights of citizenship and mobility to the racial majority. In Israel, Muslims are full citizens, represented at high levels in all branches of the government, living wherever they buy homes, attending the same schools, and being served by the same hospitals, restaurants, etc. It is NOTHING like apartheid. The closest thing to apartheid in the Middle East is in Muslim countries, where people are denied rights based on religion and ethnicity (see treatment of Palestinians in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, etc.).

There's a reason, Neil, why the majority of Arabs in Jerusalem in a recent poll reported that they preferred Israeli citizenship to citizenship in a future Palestine.

And, there's a reason why hundreds of Muslims have been killed in Yemen, Iran, Libya, etc. for demonstrating against their own governments, and yet you are most upset when a few Muslims were killed by Israel FOR VIOLENTLY AND ILLEGALLY CROSSING THE BORDER. This double standard is called anti-Semitism.

2:07PM PDT on May 17, 2011

On Sunday Israel killed at least 12 unarmed Palestinian refugees and injured hundreds more. The refugees were commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, or "catastrophe," as Palestinians call their dispossession and expulsion by Israel before, during, and ever since its founding in 1948.

These Palestinian refugees, inspired by the "Arab Spring" to act as their own agents for achieving their fundamental human rights, sought to exercise their internationally recognized -- but long-denied -- right of return to their homes.

Israel's lethal response with live ammunition provides a stark reminder of the extent to which it will go to maintain its apartheid policies against Palestinians.

While Israel allows Jewish people from anywhere in the world automatically to attain citizenship, it forcibly forbids the return of Palestinian refugees whom it exiled from their homes. Such a policy -- discrimination based on religious or ethnic differences -- is the very definition of apartheid.

Israel's latest atrocity adds one more reason for you to persuade your Members of Congress to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on May 24. The USA greatest hypocrit supports Israel financially & worse with lethal weapons to kill civilians.

1:43PM PDT on May 17, 2011

Adina Rosenthal," ..are odd considering the hundreds[possible more ?] death of Syrians by their own Government. Note the excavation of the mass grave in the video at the bottom- Killing of Syrians carried by Syrians -not Israel." To know exactly who many were killed by Syrian Govt, google " hama massacre " or http://www.shrc.org/data/aspx/d5/2535.aspx#3 or go to YouTube and type in" Hafaz al-assad: hama massacre 1982" also " gaza salafists rally for bin laden-no comment " It is worth watching. When Israelis kills few Palestinians, the brainwashed morons get up and shout at the top of their voices ,'murders' But when muslims kill muslims in hundreds and thousands ,the same brainwashed morons keep silent.,like now what is happening in Arab world.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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