Syria demands UN halt Golan Heights drilling

Damascus - Syria on Thursday condemned Israeli drilling for oil in the occupied Golan Heights as a “flagrant violation” of UN Security Council resolutions and called on the United Nations to intervene.

The foreign ministry lodged a protest with the UN against what it branded an “illegal and flagrant violation of Security Council Resolution 497” urging Israel to rescind its annexation of the Golan, state news agency SANA reported.

A sign showing the distances to different locations is seen at an army post from the 1967 war at Mt. Bental in the Golan Heights, overlooking Syria. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit). Credit: AP

It said the move “aims to cement the occupation and annexation” of the territory and accused Israel of “exploiting” the conflict in Syria “to perpetuate the occupation of Syrian territory and plunder its wealth.”

According to Israeli media, Israel last week gave the green light for oil drilling in the Golan Heights, halted two decades ago during peace negotiations in the region.

Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community.

There have been several incidents of gunfire or mortar shells landing on the Israeli-held side of the Golan, prompting troops to respond with artillery in November, the first such case of Israeli fire at the Syrian military since 1973. - Sapa-AFP