Syria warns Israel it could enter Golan

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Syrian government official warned that his country can enter the Israeli-held Golan Heights at any time.

“The Golan is Syrian Arab territory and will remain so, even if the Israeli army is stationed there. We have the right to go in and out of it whenever we want and however we please,” Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said Sunday at a news conference in Damascus.

The statement came in response to two alleged Israeli airstrikes last week on Syrian military targets, which unnamed officials say targeted long-range missiles in transit from Iran to Hezbollah.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. A United Nations peacekeeping force patrols the area.

Also on Sunday, Syrian rebels released four Filipino United Nations peacekeepers stationed on the Golan Heights to patrol the cease-fire zone between Israel and Syria, who were kidnapped last week. The Philippines and other countries with soldiers stationed on the Golan Heights, have threatened to withdraw their troops.