The Golan Heights Crossing will be reopened to the public on Monday, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said this weekend, Al Masdar News reports.
According to Haley, opening the long contested crossing by Syria and Israel “will allow U.N. peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region.”
The announcement is but the latest sign that the seven-year long proxy war is now winding down and stability is fast returning to many war-torn parts of the country as most of sovereign Syrian soil is back under government control.
Earlier this month, the Russian Ministry of Defense mediated between Syria and Israel to reopen the Quneitra Crossing into the occupied areas of the Golan Heights region. The Golan Heights Crossing was closed in 2014 after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat Al-Nusra captured Quneitra City and much of the territory around the provincial capital.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has overseen the monitoring of a demilitarized zone established in 1974 between the Israeli-occupied Golan and the Syrian sector, but the UNDOF withdrew when in recent years fighting connected to the war in Syria spilled into the Golan.
Further as part of her weekend comments, Haley said, “We look to both Israel and Syria to provide U.N. peacekeepers the access they need as well as assurances of their safety. We also call on Syria to take the necessary steps so UNDOF can safely and effectively deploy and patrol without interference.”
Haley's implicit blame that operations could be disrupted on forces loyal to Damascus, however, are deeply ironic and contradict the facts that the UNDOF only withdrew after anti-Assad "rebels" entered the area, including Al-Qaeda terrorists, which later set the Quneitra crossing on fire after the Syrian Army advanced into the area.
She also called on both sides to adhere to the 1974 Golan ceasefire agreement and “keep any military forces other than UN peacekeepers out of the area.”
The post acts as the only crossing between Syrian territories and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and was formerly run by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) before Al-Qaeda forces had taken over the Syrian side for the past years of years of the war. There is over a mile in distance between the Syrian and Israeli sides of the crossing.
According to a 2017 Wall Street Journal report Israel and Saudi Arabia had aligned to fund and supply radical groups across the Golan border from the opening years of the conflict. The WSJ had confirmed the already "open secret" of "Israel supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces."