Syria condemns US senator over Golan

Damascus (AFP) –


The Syrian government Tuesday condemned a statement by an influential US senator that the occupied Golan Heights should remain "forever" under the control of Israel.

Lindsey Graham, a Washington ally of President Donald Trump and a strong backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, toured the Golan Heights with the premier on Monday.

He said the idea of the strategic plateau going to any party other than Israel was "off the table", vowing to work to have the United States recognise the Golan as part of Israel "now and forever".

Israel seized control of much of the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and later annexed it, in moves never recognised by the international community.

A Syrian foreign ministry source condemned Graham's statement, saying it reflected Washington's bias in favour of Israel, state news agency SANA said.

It demonstrated "the arrogance of the US administration and how it views regional issues with Zionist eyes and with the interests of Israel" in mind, the source said.

"The Syrian people... are more resolute and determined to continue their struggle until the occupied Golan is fully liberated."

Netanyahu has been pushing for the United States and other countries to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

In November, the United States voted for the first time against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel's occupation of the Golan.

Trump handed a huge victory to Israel in 2017 when he recognised Jerusalem as its capital and decided to move the US embassy to the disputed city despite Palestinian anger.