Syrian army ready to retake Hatay – pro-Assad journalist

The Syrian Arab Army will be in a position to capture the Turkish province of Hatay after first ending the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, journalist Mohamed Sayed Ahmed has written for the Syrian state-owned newspaper Tishreen.

“(The) Turkish enemy … will be forced to withdraw from Syrian territory which it occupies, because the Syrian Arab Army and its allies will not accept anything but the full liberation of Syrian Arab territory,” wrote Ahmed.

The writer referred to Hatay, the southern Turkish province which was turned over to Turkey after a referendum in 1939, while Syria was still under the influence of French mandate rule.

Turkish forces currently occupy areas in north Syria, which the Turkish military entered in cross border operations to fight the extremist jihadist Islamic State (ISIS) and Kurdish militants allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

After the Turkish military is forced out of these areas, forces loyal to Syrian Bashar al-Assad’s regime will take the fight to Hatay and force Turkey to “withdraw from the historically occupied Alexandretta (Hatay), which the Syrian state will not accept to remain occupied,” said Ahmed.

All this would be achieved after recapturing the Golan Heights, which Israel has held since defeating Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The dispute over Turkey's legitimacy in governing Hatay has resurfaced since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, which saw the Turkish government take a strong stance opposing the Assad regime.