Syria Tells UN: Israel Burying Nuclear Waste in Golan Heights

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Syria has complained to the United Nations about a series of alleged Israeli wrongdoings in the Golan Heights, including burying nuclear waste and discriminating against the region's Druze residents.

The complaint was made in a report Syria handed to a UN fact-finding committee comprised of Senegal, Sri Lanka and Malaysia's ambassadors.

The report came after Syria held a third round of indirect negotiations with Israel in Turkey last week. A Turkish government source said Thursday that both sides had agreed to hold a fourth round of indirect negotiations in Turkey in late July.

Syria listed in the report a number of alleged Israeli violations of the Golan's Druze inhabitants' human rights.

In addition the nuclear claim, Damascus charged that Israel confiscates the Israeli ID cards of Druze students who return from studies in Syria, and that residents of the Golan continue to serve prison terms in Israeli jails, some for dozens of years.

Syria also protested the expansion in the strategic plateau of Israeli communities, which it termed settlements, as well as lamenting the fact that Golan residents continue to be injured by mines planted in the region.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the strategic territory remains the primary bone of contention between the two sides. Some 20,000 Druze live alongside a similar number Israelis in the Golan, many of whom continue to maintain at least nominal loyalty to Syria.

Druze Golan residents told Haaretz yesterday that the Syrian charge of nuclear waste being dumped in the region relates to an old claim, and that they have no knowledge of any such activity.

"We don't know about this, because this is not about activity within our communities. Furthermore, Jews who live here would also be hurt by this," the residents said.

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