The Israeli-Syrian General Armistice Agreement: A Brief History
The Israeli-Syrian General Armistice Agreement, signed on July 20, 1949, marked the end of hostilities between the newly-established state of Israel and its Arab neighbor, Syria. This agreement, which followed the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, set the terms for a ceasefire between the two countries and established a demilitarized zone (DMZ) between them.
The agreement was largely brokered by the United Nations, and was signed by representatives of Israel and Syria at a UN outpost on the Syrian-Israeli border. The document included provisions for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Syrian territory, as well as the establishment of a military demarcation line (MDL) that would separate the two sides.
In addition to the military provisions, the agreement also addressed issues such as the exchange of prisoners of war and the establishment of a Mixed Armistice Commission (MAC) to oversee compliance. The MAC was made up of representatives from both sides, as well as a neutral UN observer.
The Israeli-Syrian General Armistice Agreement was not without its challenges, however. In the years following the signing of the agreement, there were repeated violations by both sides. Syria, in particular, was accused of using the DMZ as a base for attacks on Israeli settlements and military outposts.
Despite these challenges, the agreement remained in effect for more than two decades, until the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War. In the aftermath of this conflict, Israeli forces occupied Syria`s Golan Heights and established a new DMZ.
In the years since the Israeli-Syrian General Armistice Agreement was signed, the relationship between Israel and Syria has remained fraught with tension. Both sides have launched attacks against each other, and there have been repeated attempts to negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement.
Today, the situation remains unresolved, with the Syrian civil war adding a new layer of complexity to the conflict. The Israeli-Syrian General Armistice Agreement, however, remains a landmark document in the history of the region, and a testament to the power of international diplomacy.