On October 16, the Israeli military assassinated Medhat al-Saleh, director of the Golan Affairs Office in the Syrian government.
According to the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV, al-Shaleh was shot and killed by the Israeli military while he was visiting ‘Ayn At Tina site, which is located right on the Separation of Forces Line that separates Syria’s al-Quneitra from the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights.
The Syrian government has not commented on the incident so far; neither did Israeli which does not usually acknowledges assassinations.
Al-Saleh, a native of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, spent 12 years in jail for “resisting” Israeli authorities. After being released, he moved to Syria in 1998 where he became a member of its parliament, the People’s Assembly, until 2005.
Al-Saleh became the director of the Golan Affairs Office, which is tasked with supporting Syrians living under the Israeli occupation in the Golan Heights, on the same year.
In 2010, al-Saleh’s name returned to the spotlight when Israel uncovered a Syrian spy ring in the Golan. Tel Aviv claimed that the ring was being run by none other than al-Saleh. The ring collected information on the operations of Israeli Navy submarines and was about to abduct a Syrian pilot who defected to Israel in the 80s.
At the time, the Syrian government refuted Israel’s accusations, which may have been just an attempt to prevent anyone from al-Golan from contacting al-Saleh.
The Israeli military and intelligence were reportedly behind several assassinations that targeted local fighters and officials in al-Quneitra in the last few years.
The assassination of al-Saleh may lead to a major escalation, especially that it took place after a series of Israeli airstrikes on central Syria that left Iranian-backed forces threatening Tel Aviv with a “very harsh response”.
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