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The New Arab Staff

Israel detains teenage Syrian shepherd near Golan Heights fence

Israeli forces have occupied the Golan Heights since 1967 [AFP File Image]

Date of publication: 3 February, 2021

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Israel has detained a teenage Syrian shepherd near the occupied Golan Heights, Syrian regime media and an Israeli army spokesman have said.
Israeli forces on Tuesday detained a teenage Syrian shepherd near the border fence between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights region of Syria and the rest of the country.

Seventeen-year-old Omran Ibrahim Al-Khedr, from the village of Ghadir Al-Bustan, was captured by Israeli troops while grazing his sheep close to the fence, the Syrian regime news agency, SANA, reported.

The Golan Heights region of southwestern Syria has been illegally occupied by Israel ever since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

SANA’s report was confirmed by the Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesman, Avichay Adraee, who said in a tweet that a Syrian shepherd who had "infiltrated" the Golan Heights area was captured by Israeli forces.

Adraee tweeted that the shepherd had "deliberately" entered the Israeli-held territories and was now being interrogated by security forces.

Read more: The Golan Heights and a new, imperial world order

The Golan Heights region has been the site of frequent tensions over the course of the Syrian conflict, which broke out in 2011 after the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad brutally suppressed peaceful pro-democracy protests.

The frontier between Syrian-controlled territory and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights was contested by the regime and Syrian rebels until 2018, when Assad forces gained full control of the frontier area, with Israel's tacit approval.

However, last month three Syrian regime soldiers were killed by unknown assailants near the Golan Heights frontier and Israel regularly launches deadly air raids into Syria, targeting pro-Iran militias fighting alongside the Assad forces.

In 2019, the administration of former US President Donald Trump recognised the Golan Heights as part of Israel, drawing widespread condemnation from the international community.

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