On September 27, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel is ready to reopen the crossing between the Syrian governorate of al-Quneitra and the occupied Golan Heights.
“The fact that we have come here, to Alpha Gate, and as far as we are concerned UNDOF forces have begun to operate and patrol with the Israeli military’s assistance, says that we are ready for the crossing to reopen,” Liberman told reporters during a visit to the crossing, according to the Reuters news agency.
The crossing was established following the U.N. sponsored 1974 “agreement on disengagement” between Syria and Israel in order to allow Syrian citizens on both sides to move freely. The U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is responsible for managing the crossing.
In June of 2013, the crossing was closed following an attack by the al-Qaeda branch in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, and its allies from the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA). Back then, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) recaptured the crossing within days. However, the militants captured it again a year later.
The SAA recaptured the crossing for the second time earlier this year during its large-scale military operation in southern Syria. Following that, the UNDOF was redeployed in the demilitarized zone along with units of the Russian Military Police. However, the crossing is still closed.
Liberman said that “the ball is in the Syrian court” now. However, it is still unclear if the Damascus government is willing to open the crossing amid the current tensions in the region.