Sole crossing between Syria and Israeli-controlled Golan reopens after 4 years

Israel-Syria border Quneitra crossing in the annexed-Golan Heights on the day of its reopening. The only crossing point between Syria and Israeli-controlled territory reopened on October 15, 2018. (AFP pic)

GOLAN HEIGHTS: The only crossing point between Syria and Israeli-controlled territory reopened Monday, an AFP correspondent reported, four years after closing due to the civil war on the Syrian side.

Two United Nations white jeeps crossed into Israeli-controlled territory through the reopened crossing near Quneitra in the Golan Heights after a deal between Israel, Syria and the UN.

The reopening is a further sign that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is regaining territory lost to rebels in his country’s seven-year civil war.

The country’s flag was raised on the Syrian side of the crossing during a brief ceremony, the AFP correspondent said.

The Quneitra crossing is used primarily by the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has around 1,000 troops who monitor a ceasefire line separating Israeli-occupied parts of the Golan Heights from Syria.

It was also used by Druze living on the Israeli side travelling to Syria for trade, education or weddings.

The main crossing between Syria and Jordan also reopened Monday.

Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.