WASHINGTON – Israel's claims that Damascus was the inciting force behind the "Nakba Day" riots received unexpected support Tuesday in the form of an allegedly official Syrian document obtained by Britain's Daily Telegraph.According to one of the newspaper's blogs the document offers proof that Syria not only encouraged Palestinians to riot during "Nakba Day," it sent 20 buses to the border and instructed the military to allow protesters to access to the fence.
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The document, which bears an official government seal, is dated May 14 – one day before the riots on the Israel-Syria border – and is signed by Khalil Mashhadieh, the mayor of Quneitra.
It details a meeting held between Deputy Chief of Staff of the Syrian Armed Forces Major-General Asef Shawkat and chiefs of the Syrian military intelligence branches in the border-adjacent province; and states that military forces stationed at the border were given an order to allow 20 buses carrying civilians to enter the restricted military zone and approach the border fence.
"All security, military, and contingent units in the province of Ain-el-Tina and the old al-Qunaitera are hereby ordered to grant permission of passage to all twenty vehicles... that are scheduled to arrive at ten in the morning on Sunday May 15, 2011 without being questioned or stopped until it reaches or frontier defense locations.
"Permission is hereby granted allowing approaching crowds to cross the cease fire line (with Israel) towards the occupied Majdal-Shamms, and to further allow them to engage physically with each other in front of United Nations agents and offices. Furthermore, there is no objection if a few shots are fired in the air, " the document reads.
The communiqué stresses that none of the civilians would be carrying military IDs or weapons, in an effort to stage a "peaceful and spontaneous" protest.
Since civilians are barred from going near the border, if the document is indeed authentic, then it clearly points to the riots being orchestrated by the Syrian regime, in hopes of diverting international attention form its own brutal crackdown on anti-Assad protesters.
Telegraph blogger Michael Weiss, who posted the document, asserts that it proves Damascus trying to "cynically manipulate" the West.
Weiss, who is the spokesperson of Just Journalism, a watchdog organization that monitors coverage of Israel in British media, said that the document was leaked to him by the governor of al-Qunaitera.
"This document – which I have good reason to believe is absolutely genuine – appears to represent the first piece of regime-created evidence that Assad has cynically tried to manipulate Western and Arabic media during three-month Syrian uprising," he said.
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