Israel Threatens to Strike Hezbollah in Southern Syria

 Israeli planes dropped leaflets in areas in the governorates of Qoneitra and Daraa, in southern Syria.
Israeli planes dropped leaflets in areas in the governorates of Qoneitra and Daraa, in southern Syria.
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Israel Threatens to Strike Hezbollah in Southern Syria

 Israeli planes dropped leaflets in areas in the governorates of Qoneitra and Daraa, in southern Syria.
Israeli planes dropped leaflets in areas in the governorates of Qoneitra and Daraa, in southern Syria.

Israeli planes dropped leaflets in areas in the governorates of Qoneitra and Daraa, southern Syria, warning the Syrian army against the consequences of sheltering Hezbollah members.

The leaflets read: “We will not accept the continued presence of Hezbollah at the Tel Al-Hara military base, and the continuation of cooperation in any way… Hezbollah continues to extend its arms in the region and its presence brings disaster and destruction… You will be the first to be harmed.”

A former leader in the opposition factions in the Daraa governorate told Asharq Al-Awsat that since 2018, Tel Al-Hara has been exposed to three Israeli attacks.

The hill, which is located northwest of Daraa governorate, is considered a strategic military site, due to its location, which overlooks the occupied Golan and is only about 15 km away from the border with Israel. It also represents a link between the western countryside of Damascus and the governorates of Daraa and Quneitra.

Tel al-Hara is also a restricted military zone. Before 2018, the area was under the control of the opposition factions. The Syrian regime forces and pro-Iran militias regained control over the hill, in the wake of the settlement agreement in the southern region that was sponsored by Russia.

The former opposition leader pointed to dozens of air raids and missile targeting against military sites in southern Syria since 2018. The Israeli targeting included observation and monitoring points in Qoneitra, and radar and air defense sites in As-Sweida.

However, the main targets, which have been repeatedly bombed, are located in the vicinity of the town of Hader in the northern Qoneitra countryside, along the ceasefire line in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Several sites were targeted in As-Sweida, including the 159th Regiment, Al-Thala Military Airport, and the Al-Dour Battalion, and the radar points in Tal Al-Sahn, Tal Qina, Tal Al-Masih, and Tal Qalib, which were recently bombed on Feb. 18.

Journalist Rayan Maarouf from As-Sweida told Asharq Al-Awsat that the targeted sites in southern Syria mostly contained air defense equipment and military radars. Iran seems to be funding the reconstruction of these sites, he added.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.