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Tensions escalate as Israel mobilises tanks to border of occupied Golan Heights

TENSIONS have continued to escalate between Israel and Syria after Tel Aviv mobilised tanks to their border in the occupied Golan Heights.

Damascus branded this as an act of provocation.

Tuesday’s Israeli deployment came after Syria vowed to reclaim territory seized during the 1967 six-day war,  during which Israeli forces also occupied the Palestinian-populated West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Damascus was responding to Israeli Prime Minister Natfali Bennett’s plan to “quadruple” the number of illegal settlers in the Golan Heights to 100,000, which has sparked protests by the region’s Druze community.

Mr Bennett asserts that the Golan belong to Israel and that a troop presence there is necessary to prevent Iranian forces gaining a foothold.

But Tel Aviv’s claims to the territory, which it formally annexed in 1981, are not recognised by the international community.

In July, the United Nations economic and social commission for western Asia declared that Israel’s continued occupation was “invalid and illegal” and an obstacle to peace in the region.

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