Land appropriation and property destruction

Annexation of the Syrian Golan (de facto)

The area known as the Syrian Golan is a mountainous region and plateau in southwest Syria that borders Lebanon to the north, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the west.  The overall landmass of the Syrian Golan is 1,860 square kilometres, which is approximately one percent of the total landmass of Syria.  During the Arab-Israeli War in June 1967, Israel seized, occupied and took control of 1,250 km2 of the Syrian Golan (over two-thirds of the total land mass of the Syrian Golan, containing 1 city and 344 villages and farms), either forcibly transferring or displacing over 130,000 native Syrian inhabitants from their homes. Successive Israeli governments adopted numerous policies to control and contain the Syrian population since Israel began its occupation of the ‘Occupied Syrian Golan’. They have destroyed numerous villages, driven thousands from their homes, expropriated private and public property, prevented the remaining Arab villages from expanding and actively stopped the free movement of people.

In 1981, Israel enacted legislation that purported to annex the territory. This move was widely condemned by the international community in unilateral statements and numerous declarations and resolutions of the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council. Israel’s occupation of the Occupied Syrian Golan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and subsequent annexation has violated various major legal principles, including those reflecting customary international law. Relevant provisions are enshrined in the UN Charter; the Hague Regulations; the Fourth Geneva Convention; Protocol 1 of 1977, Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

For more information, please refer to A/RES/66/80, a relevant United Nations General Assembly Resolution of 12 January 2012.

For the foregoing reasons, Al-Marsad is currently working on a novel legal publication relating to the defining factors of de facto annexation under International Humanitarian Law, with a particular emphasis on Israel and the Syrian Golan from 1967 to the present.

For a preliminary background on Israel’s actions in the Occupied Syrian Golan, please see Al-Marsad’s publication – ‘Changing the Landscape: Israel’s Gross Violations of International Law in the Occupied Syrian Golan’, available below, along with other relevant publications.


  •  Changing the LandscapeIsrael’s Gross Violations of International Law in the Occupied Syrian Golan
  •  Water is LifeA Consideration of the Legality and Consequences of Israeli Exploitation of the Water Resources of the Occupied Syrian Golan



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