A video from the recent protests in Syria's Golan Heights which is currently occupied by Israel is being shared online with the false claim that it shows pro-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) militants attacking tribals in Manipur.
The clashes between the Kuki and Meitei communities in Manipur began two months ago, and since then, the death toll in the state has crossed 100 with 400 injured. Manipur's CM N Biren backtracked his resignation by making an announcement on Twitter on June 30 that he would not be resigning. This was after protests outside his residence by supporters urging him not to step down and reports claiming that his resignation letter was torn by women supporters while he was on his way to meet the Governor.
In the viral video, a group of people are seen running around in a field with smoke and firing of shots in the background.
The video is being shared with the caption when translated reads, "Pro-BJP militants in Manipur again heavily bombarded tribal areas. Tribals fled to the jungles to save their lives. Manipur is burning since 60 days and Modi is trying to strengthen his booth for electoral gains."
(Original text in Hindi: "#मणिपुर भाजपा समर्थक उग्रवादियो ने आदिवासी इलाको पर फिर की भारी बमबारी. आदिवासी अपनी जान बचाने के लिए जंगलो की और भागे. 60 दिनो से मणिपुर जल रहा है और मोदी चुनावी फायदे के लिए अपने बूथ को मजबूत करने मे लगा है")
BOOM found that the viral video is from the June 2023 protests against the construction of a wind turbine farm in Syria's Golan Heights.
Golan Heights, located in the southwest region of Syria, was seized by Israel in the six-day war of 1967. Israel later annexed the area, a move that was not recognised internationally, but endorsed by former US President Donald Trump in 2019. Syria had made an attempt to reoccupy Golan Heights during the 1973 Middle East War but was thwarted.
We ran a reverse image search with some of the keyframes from the video that led us to an article by the news website Al-Jarmaq News published on June 22, 2023. The article carried the same visuals that can be seen in the video.
The headline of the article when translated to English reads, "A Syrian farmer from the Golan talks about the huge presence of the occupation forces in the agricultural lands"
The report states that the owners of the farmlands are not being allowed to pick cherries and other fruits as huge forces of Israeli border guards and special forces are present in the area. It details the experience of a farmer, Melhem Abu Saleh from the Golan region who spoke about how locals were protesting against the construction of a wind turbine project.
"Yesterday there were a number of injuries and arrests among the demonstrators in the Golan, and negotiations took place between the people and the police to withdraw from the demonstrations in exchange for their withdrawal from the lands, and there was talk of postponing work for several days, especially after the blessed Eid al-Adha, but they did not stop working," Abu Saleh told Al-Jarmaq.
Taking a cue from this, we looked for several news reports on the incident in Arabic and found a story by Dubai-based news outlet Nabd published on June 21, 2023. The story headline read, 'Scenes from the continuation of the confrontation in the occupied Syrian Golan with the occupation forces'.
Turkish news outlet Orient TV also published the video on its YouTube channel on June 21 with the title 'For the second day in a row, the Israeli occupation forces attacked the people of Al-Hafayer area in the occupied Syrian Golan'.
The Druze community, an Arab minority residing in the region believes that the wind turbine project poses a danger to their agricultural and residential land. On June 19, thousands of them demonstrated against its construction by storming police stations, vandalising police cars, throwing stones, fireworks, and burning tyres. The Israeli police retaliated by firing tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets, and water cannons. 20 people were reported injured in these clashes.
Following this, the Israeli police denied reports of halting the construction of the wind turbines, however, a few days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a brief halt to the project due to the clashes it caused.
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