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Protesters retreat from the border after Israeli forces fired tear gas yesterday. Oded Balilty/AP/Press Association Images
Golan Heights

'$10,000 if your relative dies': how the Syrian regime 'paid' protesters to storm Israeli border

Syria’s opposition party claims that the under-fire regime of president Bashar Assad paid protesters to storm the border at the Golan Heights yesterday, promising money to the families of those who died.

IT HAS EMERGED that the Syrian government of embattled president Bashar Assad may have paid local farmers to deliberately storm the border with Israeli in the Golan Heights yesterday, leading to violence that killed a reported 20 people.

The opposition party, the Reform Party of Syria which is based in the US, has claimed in a statement that Assad’s government paid hundreds of impoverished farmers, on an average salary of $200 (€136) per month, $1,000 (€684) each to show up at the protest.

It also claims, citing intelligence sources close to the Assad regime in Lebanon, that these farmers were promised that $10,000 (€6,845) would be paid to their families if they were killed by Israeli fire.

Twenty people are reported to have been killed after Israeli Defence Forces opened fire on the protesters who stormed the border on the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria amongst other territorial gains.

Israeli forces opened fire on the protesters yesterday, claiming that the Syrian regime had sparked the unrest.

Government spokesperson Mark Regev told The Telegraph:

What we are seeing on the Golan is a deliberate provocation, an attempt to violently crash through the border and enter Israel illegally.

And this could not be happening without the acquiescence of the Syrian regime which has apparently taken a decision to increase tension on the frontier in order to divert attention from the real problems they face at home.

Assad’s regime faces its most serious challenge to his family’s 40-year rule.

Months of protests have been brutally crushed as human rights groups claim that over a thousand people have been killed in the violence.

Protesters are demanding that the regime step down and have been inspired by similar protests in Egypt and Tunisia that have led to the presidents of both countries resigning.

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