Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash9
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syria sharply criticized Israel on Monday for its plan to double the population of Israelis living in the Golan Heights within five years.

“Syria has strongly condemned the dangerous and unprecedented escalation of Israeli occupation authorities in the occupied Syrian Golan,” reported the Syrian state-run SANA news agency.

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Israel captured the Golan from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

“The Syrian government reaffirms its permanent and strong support for its Syrian citizens, the people of the occupied Syrian Golan who resist the Israeli occupation and who reject the annexation decision and the policy of seizing lands by force,” a Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the approval of a 1 billion shekel ($317.3 million) program to develop and settle the Golan Heights.

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