Quneitra Liberation

In the life of nations and people, there are many great occasions which embody their deep-rooted presence and authentic identity and promote it to continue the struggle process.

The day of hoisting the Syrian Arab flag in the liberated city of Quneitra on June 26th, 1974, is one of the everlasting days in our contemporary history. On that day, the Syrian people crowned their struggle to liberate part of the nation after October Liberation War in 1973.

On the anniversary of hoisting the Syrian flag, the tragic reality of the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan  and the compulsory displacement of the Syrian citizens in June 1967 can't be ignored.

The number of the Syrians in the region occupied in 1967 was 138,000 inhabitants and the number of people displaced by Israel during and after the aggression was 131,000 Syrians, which means that only 7,000 Syrians remained in the occupied Golan. The number of the Syrians under the yoke of Israeli occupation stands now at more than 30,000 Syrians surrounded by more than 40 Israeli illegal settlements, not to mention the tens of military barracks, arms stockpiles, and thousands of Al-Qaeda affiliates.

The Israeli practices in the occupied Golan flagrantly violate and contradict all international laws, human rights charters and relevant resolutions of the UNSC and General Assembly. Israel has become a magnet for al-Qaeda affiliates who by the Israeli occupation and ewes and new-colonials replaced UNDOF. Thus, instead of the UN decided resolutions and Armistice Agreements, al-Qaeda affiliates proliferate! If  those terrorists burn the innocents alive, drown them, cut their heads off, what would they do to the occupiers!

 

 The UNSC which  issued on December 17 , 1981 resolution No. 497 stipulating that: “the decision of Israel to impose its laws and administrative authority on the occupied Syrian Golan is considered null and void”. This resolution condemns Israel’s decision to annex the Golan as an action violating principles of the International Law. The need is indeed dire now that the recent anti-terrorism resolutions, disengagement resolution, and other resolutions including 242, 338, should be the bases for security, stability and humanity.

Forty-four years following the hoisting of the Syrian Flag in the liberated City of Quneitra by the Late President Hafez Al-Assad on June 26th 1974, the Syria Times is indeed honored to publish some of the said by the late leader of  the nation, the builder of modern Syria.

On this glorious occasion, the late President Hafez Al-Assad said: " Words are powerless to describe this event. I can only say that the people’s will is invincible, and nation is above all else. We should continue preparing for the expulsion of the enemy from every inch of our Arab territories. I am optimistic of our victory and future, as I am confident that no force on this earth can stop us from restoring  all our rights. All those supporters within sight are always ready to sacrifice, and  make efforts in order to achieve their will to confirm their freedom in this country and the Arab world. The Syrian people will remain a beacon for the Arab nation as well as a symbol of sacrifice. These masses will ever remain an illuminant glare for freedom, homeland liberation, and Arab nation dignity. "

"You were on an appointment with the sixth of October, an October of glory and honor, where all subsequent months are waiting to prove this year that the horse who once receded has risen again. This country is the home of valiant soldiers protecting it. As the Arab nation is worldwide known, as a radiant civilization and as a cradle of courage and heroism.

In October then  in Golan Wars, in all sites and battles, you have  fought gloriously. You have hold heads high through your  wonderful resistance and brave combat. Thus, Arabs hold their heads in glory in each of their home countries. All the Arab nation has offered condolences from Ocean to Gulf.  You became role models and legendary, after having smashed the enemy’s arrogance, and demolished its ego.  Giving the enemy war lessons in land, air and sea, lessons it will never forget. Proving that the weapon in your hands is a weapon in the hands of the heroes, competent fighters, faithful to their nation cause, experienced in fighting arts, well trained on modern weapons.

Dear brothers and sons:

In Tishreen (October)  and  Golan Wars, we have raised up the slogan "No turning back, no retreat before the enemy, no movement but forward ", And you have incarnated that logo on the ground.

When you moved forward, you were heroes. when you stood fast  in your positions you were heroes. By your progress and resistance, you won this round, which forced the enemy to retreat from part of our land, after having profaned it through  seven years of occupation. History will record that we, by sweat and blood, have liberated this part of our land, and by  sweat and blood we will liberate what remains of our sweet Arab land.

Tishreen and Golan Wars have proved that man is the decisive factor in the battle, as well as in achieving victory. The sole fighting soldier, not the  weapon, is who decides the outcome of the war.

As Tishreen and Golan epics were harsh, the forthcoming ones should be. Moreover,  they should be more intense and fierce. The battle is a battle of destiny. The enemy is avaricious of our land, but our land is sacred, we will not allow him to profane it. We have dedicated ourselves and possessions to defend it, and by  identified martyrdom is the  way to achieve our goal . "

Al-Quneitra is the capital of the destroyed Governorate which is located to the south-west of Syria.

 The city is situated in a valley in the Golan Heights at an elevation of 1,010 metres above sea level. The name "al-quneitra" means ( the little bridge).

On June 10, 1967, the Israeli enemy destroyed al-Quneitra and displaced its people from their lands like the other Golan's villages.

Quneitra is situated in a valley in the Golan Heights at an altitude of 942 m. The surrounding area of the city is dominated by ancient volcanic lava flows punctuated by a number of dormant volcanic craters which rise some 150–200 m above the surrounding plateau.

The volcanic hills of the region have played a key role as observatory posts and firing positions in the conflicts over the region, most notably in the October War. In peaceful times, the fertile volcanic soil has supported agricultural activities such as wheat growing and grazing.

During his visit to the region, the American traveller Harriet-Louise H. Patterson recorded that Quneitra was charmingly set in a grove of eucalyptus trees. Al-Quneitra is pleasant as a stopover for lunch. It is cool under the spreading trees, usually quiet and restful.

The city's position on an important trade route gave it a diversified population for much of its history. By advent of the 20th century , its population grew to some 21,000 people after the Syrian independence from the French occupation in 1946.

Al-Quneitra in History

The surrounding area has been inhabited for millennia, where excavations works had been discovered  that  Palaeolithic hunters are believed to have lived there. A settlement was established at least as early as the Roman and Byzantine times, serving as a stop on the road from Damascus to western Palestine. Saint Paul is said to have passed through the settlement on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus where St. Paul was converted to Christianity in Kokab village, north-east of Quneitra, on the road to Damascus.

In 1868 a travel handbook reported that the site was a "ruined village of about 80 or 100 houses" and a large khan also stood in ruins.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the modern city grew around the old Khan which had been built using the stones of a ruined ancient settlement. In the midst of 20th century ,Quneitra became the administrative centre of Golan.

During The World War I, the Australian Mounted Division and the 5th Cavalry Division defeated the Ottoman Turks there on 29 September 1918, before they took Damascus. Quneitra witnessed several battles during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign of The Second World War, including the Battle of Damascus .

When Syria and Palestine gained their independence from the French and British occupation respectively after the Second World War, Quneitra gained a new strategic significance as a key route junction.

During the first few days of the October War in 1973, al-Quneitra and many villages of the occupied Golan Heights had been restored to homeland, Syria.

 On 26 June 1974, the late president Hafez Al-Assad hoisted the Syrian flag on the liberated Quneitra .

The directives of H.E President Hafez al-Assad since the liberation of Quneitra to restore life to this governorate stressed providing all elements of the steadfastness of its people and raising the slogan of reconstruction is conductive to liberation.

Al-Quneitra undertook the responsibility to achieve these accordingly:

1- The Structural and productive level: to rebuild what was destroyed by the Zionist machine in all liberated villages and provide them with all the services. Among which the agricultural land reform and make it available to citizens to return to their villages at the expense of the state.

2- The social level: to stabilize people's life and support their steadfastness for the development of economic , cultural and political fields. Besides, the development of agriculture in both areas flora and fauna , and provide basic services in the field of education.

 

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Editor-in-Chief

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