Syria says 20 dead after Golan incident

2011-06-05 21:21
Pro Palestinians protesters run from tear gas shot by Israeli troops on the Golan Heights. (Oded Balilty, AP)

Pro Palestinians protesters run from tear gas shot by Israeli troops on the Golan Heights. (Oded Balilty, AP) (Oded Balilty)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Majdal Shams - Israeli troops opened fire on Sunday as protesters from Syria stormed a ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights, with Damascus saying 20 demonstrators were killed.

Hundreds of protesters rushed the ceasefire line, cutting through barbed wire as they tried to enter the Golan Heights in a repeat of demonstrations last month that saw thousands mass along Israel's north.

Similar protests were held in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

In Majdal Shams, on the occupied Golan, Israeli troops opened fire as demonstrators sought to push through the mined ceasefire line, which had been reinforced with several rows of barbed wire blocking access to a fence.

"Despite numerous warnings, both verbal and later warning shots in the air, dozens of Syrians continue to approach the border and IDF [Israel Defence Forces] members were left with no choice but to open fire towards the feet of protesters in efforts to deter further actions," an army spokesperson told AFP.

Updating an earlier toll, Syrian state media reported that 20 people were killed, including a woman and child, and more than 325 wounded. The Israeli military said it was aware of 12 casualties.

The United States called for calm.

"We are deeply troubled by events that took place earlier today in the Golan Heights resulting in injuries and the loss of life," the State Department said in a statement.

Exercise restraint

"We call for all sides to exercise restraint. Provocative actions like this should be avoided."

The Israeli military also said that one person was wounded when at least one landmine exploded on Syria's side of the border.

"A Syrian mine exploded, seemingly because molotov cocktails thrown at [Israeli] forces started a bush fire which caused the explosion of the mine, a number of mines even," an army spokesperson told AFP. "Apparently there is one person wounded on the Syrian side."

Israeli public radio said "many" people were hurt in the explosion near Quneitra, which lies in no-man's land. There was no immediate confirmation from Syria.

In Majdal Shams, locals pleaded with soldiers to stop firing as troops used loudspeakers to warn demonstrators in Arabic that "anyone who comes close to the fence will be responsible for their own blood".

Israeli forces were on high alert after activists in the West Bank and Gaza, and in Arab nations bordering the Jewish state, called for protesters to march on Israeli checkpoints and border areas.

Military spokesperson Avital Leibovitz accused Syria of orchestrating the Golan protest to deflect attention from deadly domestic anti-regime demonstrations.

"We believe that the Syrian regime is focusing the world's attention on the border with Israel instead of what is happening there," she said.

Threaten our communities

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Golan demonstrators "extremist elements" who "are trying to break through our borders and threaten our communities and our citizens".

Protests were also staged in Gaza and the West Bank, where 16 demonstrators were taken to hospital with light wounds from rubber bullets, and another 20 were treated for tear gas inhalation.

Around 100 people demonstrated in central Hebron in the southern West Bank, while dozens of protesters tried to march from the northern West Bank village of Deir al-Hatab to the nearby Elon Moreh settlement.

In Gaza, Hamas police arrested around a dozen protesters who broke away from a rally at the northern town of Beit Hanun, and tried to march to the Erez border crossing with Israel.

Sunday's protests, timed to coincide with the 44th anniversary of the Six-Day War when Israel captured the Golan from Syria as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, were planned as a repeat of massive demonstrations last month.

On May 15, thousands of protesters massed on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, trying to force their way across on the anniversary of Israel's creation.

Israeli fire left six demonstrators dead on the Lebanese side of the border and four dead on Syria's side.

In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees on Sunday staged a day of mourning but the Lebanese army banned any gatherings at the border to avoid a repeat of the violence.

But an Iranian delegation toured the border area and a parliamentary official from Iran waved a Palestinian flag at Israeli soldiers watching from the other side.

Read more on:    syria  |  israel  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel
 

LOL treadmill fail!

Watch this hilarious clip! We think this man should rather be running outside this summer!

 
 

I love summer.24

Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos
7 drinks you need to make this party season

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

15% off LEGO

Save 15% when you buy 2 or more Lego toys. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.