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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

UNDOF: Syrian army allowed "Nakba Day" protesters to go to border

Further proof that of official Syrian complicity in the May 15 and June 5 protests:
Syrian armed forces allowed Palestinian demonstrators to cross the Israel-Syrian border in the Golan Heights during Nakba and Naksa Day protests, a United Nations report released on Wednesday said, AFP reported.

The report on the UN Disengagement Force (UNDOF), which monitors the ceasefire between Syria and Israel did not accuse Syrians of organizing the demonstrations, but said that Syrian armed forces were near the locations of the protests on May 15 and June 5.
This supports the Telegraph story showing a May 14th memo where the Syrian government is shown to have organized the protests, as well as my earlier supposition that this would explain the absence of amateur video of the protests from the Syrian side.

A possibly different UN report  apparently also confirmed Israel's contention that some Syrian casualties were from mines that exploded from fires, although it blamed Israeli smoke grenades and tear gas for igniting those fires. Video at the scene showed tires set afire by the rioters.

This still doesn't adequately explain why UNDOF disappeared on those days instead of trying to perform its duties. UNDOF is claiming that since April, Syria has stopped them from accessing some villages near the border, "ostensibly for reasons of safety and security of the military observers" as anti-government protests have allegedly spread to the area.

At any rate, the protests gave cover for the UN to extend UNDOF's mandate.

(h/t Joel)