Israeli forces targeted, shot and killed the former political prisoner Midhat Saleh al-Saleh while he was on his way home in the Golan Heights on Saturday.
Al-Saleh was the head of the Office of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights affairs in the Syrian Cabinet.
He was returning home to Ein al-Tina town, near the Israeli-occupied town of Majdal Shams, according to a report by the Syrian news agency Sana.
Al-Saleh survived numerous attempts by the Israeli military to assassinate him. In 2011, the Israeli military fired several times at his home while he was in it. Al-Saleh always said that the assassination attempts merely increased his determination to stay near Majdal Shams and maintain his steadfastness to remain on his land.
The Syrian Cabinet issued a statement condemning the extrajudicial assassination by Israeli forces, who were within Syrian territory when they carried out the assassination – constituting an act of war against Syria.
In their statement, the Syrian cabinet stressed that such terrorist acts will only increase the determination of the Syrian Arab people to continue resisting the occupier and liberating the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
The statement condemned the Israeli military for their “cowardly criminal act”, affirming that it is not unusual for the “criminal Israeli occupation” to target the Syrians living in Golan Heights.
“The cabinet offers its deepest and sincerest condolences to the Syrian people and to the family and relatives of the martyr, asking God to have mercy upon him ” the statement said.
This assassination comes just days after the Israeli military dispatched a “large number of tanks” to the Golan Heights, on October 12th, following an announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that the number of Israeli settlers would be doubled in the Golan Heights, calling it a “strategic goal.”
According to the United Nations, “The Syrian Golan is a region in southwest Syria which was occupied on June 5, 1967 by Israeli forces. The Golan’s overall land mass is 1,860 square kilometers, which is approximately 1 percent of Syria’s total area, about 1,500 square kilometers remains under Israeli occupation.
“Before this Israeli occupation, the Golan was home to over 140,000 Syrians, most of whom were driven out of their homeland and into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status. Till this day, almost 40 years later, the Syrian inhabitants of the Golan are still unable to return to their homes, towns and cities. Today these Syrians exceed 500,000 people.
“Some Syrians remained in the Occupied Syrian Golan and continue to live in small villages amounting to approximately 20,000 Syrians. Most of the Syrian cities, towns and villages in the Golan were destroyed by Israeli occupation forces, who in turn have built over 40 illegal settlements despite all international condemnation. Israel continues not only to occupy the Syrian Golan but to also destroy its ancient ruins and geopolitical atmosphere for the sole purpose of cleansing the Golan of its Syrian people and their history. “