QUNEITRA /Syria/, September 5. /TASS/. Syrian bomb disposal engineers trained by Russian military experts are ready to start demining territory in the demilitarized zone near the Golan Heights on the border between Syria and Israel after its liberation from militants, Deputy Commander of the Russian Contingent in Syria Lieutenant-General Sergei Kuralenko said on Wednesday.
"The Syrian Armed Forces’ sappers are ready for work to demine terrain and roads in the demilitarized zone, which will guarantee the security of the UN convoys along the patrol routes," he said.
Kuralenko added that Russian military servicemen will provide assistance in maintaining security during the Syrian sappers’ work in the region.
Golan Heights issue
The Golan Heights had been part of Syria since 1944, but the territory was seized by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1981, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed a law on the Golan Heights, which unilaterally proclaimed Israel’s sovereignty over that territory. The annexation was deemed illegal under UN Security Council Resolution 497 of December 17, 1981.
Later on, part of the territory and the town of Quneitra were returned to Syria on the condition that the territory will be demilitarized and a UN mission will be deployed there.
According to earlier reports, a UN mission, accompanied by the Russian military police, entered the region from the territory of Syria for the first time since the start of the Syrian conflict. Prior to that, UN forces headquartered in the capital Damascus had to enter the area via the Lebanese border, because the Syrian part of the demilitarized zone was held by militants.