A resident of the Golan Heights will face charges in Israel after being accused of passing military information to the enemy when he crossed the border to join the Syrian civil war.
The prosecution filed charges in the Nazareth District Court Friday against Majdal Shams resident Rafat Halabi, 28, lifting a gag order on the case.
According to the indictment, Halabi crossed into Syria three months ago to join the Bashar Assad regime in its fight against opposition rebels. He was arrested upon his return to Israel and interrogated by police and Shin Bet security service agents.
Halabi is accused of passing information on Israel Defense Forces troop movements to Damascus. He will also face charges for contacting an enemy element and crossing the border illegally.
Another Majdal Shams resident, Mohammed Rumiyeh, 24, will face charges in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court for helping Halabi cross the border.
While many of the Golan’s Druze took on citizenship after the territory was de facto annexed by Israel in 1981, a significant part of the community remains loyal to Damascus.
There have been reports of a number of Israeli Arabs crossing into Syria to join that country’s civil war.