July 25, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10722

Syrian Social Media Users Mock School Exam That Included Question On How Syria Can Win Back The Golan Heights From Israel

July 25, 2023
Syria | Special Dispatch No. 10722

In the recent years, Syria's school exams have received much attention in the local media due to reports about widespread cheating and about power outages or lack of heating in the schools during the exams. This year such reports appeared as well, but what especially caught the attention of the media was one of the questions on a ninth grade social studies exam. The question asked the pupils "to propose ways to recapture the occupied Syrian Golan" from "the Zionist enemy." 

The question on the ninth grade exam (Image:, June 11, 2023)

The question was widely shared on social media and evoked sarcastic responses from Syrians, including both supporters and opponents of the regime. The following are some of these responses.

The Exam Should Have Asked How To Win Back The Rest Of Syria From The Foreign Forces That Are Occupying It

Some social media users were amused by the fact that the question about recapturing the Golan was posed to ninth graders. User Yousuf Shakir, from Al-Suwayda in southern Syria, wrote: "The grown-ups don't know the answer, so how can junior high school students [know it]?"[1] "Fuad Al-Dimashqi" remarked, "They are unable to find a solution, so they decided to consult the ninth graders."[2] "Dharar bu Madhar" asked, "Where is the wise Syrian leadership?"[3] and others commented that the author of the exam was probably just as stumped by the question as the ninth graders were.[4]

Other users commented on the fact that this question was posed to the students when Syria itself is divided between the forces of Russia, Iran, Turkey and the U.S. "Mdean Alm" from Al-Suwayda wrote: "They should have [asked] how to win back Syria [itself] from the occupation, not the Golan."[5] "Abu Bahaa Al-Mu'ad" wrote in a similar vein: "And the rest of Syria, how will we win it back?"[6]

The Assad Family Sold The Golan To Israel

Some responders took the opportunity to slam the Syrian regime's policy vis-à-vis Israel. Many wrote sarcastically that the way to recapture the Golan was to "reserve the right to respond," echoing the statements issued by the regime in response to attacks on Syrian territory attributed to Israel. "'Abdallah 'Abdo" from Aleppo wrote: "Reserving the right to respond is the best way to win back the occupied lands, for what was taken by force will only be restored by reserving the right to respond."[7]

 Many regime opponents reiterated an old claim, that Syrian president Hafez Al-Assad, the father of the current president, had sold the Golan to Israel.[8] A user on the anti-regime Twitter page "Syrian Center for Investigation of Crimes" wrote: "A ninth grade social sciences exam composed by Assad's criminal gang included a question on how to liberate the occupied Golan.  Dear students, you will know the answer if you realize that the [dead and] buried Hafez Al-Assad sold the Golan in exchange for a 50 million dollar check, which he deposited in a Swiss bank before selling out the entire country."[9]

User "Abo msoud" commented: "As for the Golan, as long as the House of Assad is in power, we should not think of winning it back, because [Hafez] Assad sold it in order to stay in power, and his son followed suit. And as for the massacres committed by the Zionists, they are few compared to the massacre perpetrated by Bashar Al-Assad and his army against the Syrian people."[10] "Ahmad Hamdo Zalkha" from Aleppo commented: "The best way to liberate the Syrian Golan is to remove the vile [Assad] family that sold the Golan in the first place and is now selling Syria to Iran and Russia."[11] 

The Residents Of The Golan Don't Even Want To Return To Syria

Some social media users remarked that the Druze Arabs living in the Israeli Golan do not even want to be part of Syria again. "Bilal Alnajem" wrote: "We should consider the position of the residents of the Golan [on this issue], and they probably don't want to come back. They are happy with the other side [Israel] and enjoy greater security."[12] "Umm Juwan," a Kurdish Syrian, wrote: "[The people] of the Golan live in peace and don't ask [questions] about liberating it."[13]

User "Hassan M. Alzakout" wrote in a harsher tone: "Why should we win back [the Golan]? Leave [the people of the Golan] far from the Baath regime and its hypocrites."[14] "Saleh Al-Ahmad" wrote: "The terror and violence of the House of Al-Assad are the worst in the world. Israel destroyed one [Syrian] city, while Al-Bahrazi [a pejorative name for Bashar Al-Assad] destroyed all of Syria. The Golan is lucky to be part of Israel."[15]

A few users commented that the way to win back the Golan was to make peace with Israel,[16] and one of them, "Sleman Almsreb," even remarked: "I propose we give the rest of Syria to Israel and live in peace."[17]


[1], June 11, 2023.

[2], June 11, 2023.

[3], June 11, 2023.

[4], June 11, 2023.

[5], June 11, 2023.

[6], June 11, 2023.

[7], June 11, 2023.

[8] One of the sources of this story is Mahmoud Gami', who had been an associate and personal physician of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. In 2006 Gami' claimed that Sadat had told him that the Syrian regime sold the Golan to Israel in 1967 for several million dollars. Many Syrians believe that this explains why Israel encountered almost no resistance when it occupied the Golan during the 1967 war, and why the Syrian regime announced the fall of the town of Quneitra before the Israeli forces had even come near it (, August 16, 2006).

[9], June 11, 2023.

[10], June 8, 2023.

[11], June 8, 2023.

[12], June 11, 2023.

[13], June 11, 2023.

[14], June 11, 2023.

[15], June 8, 2023.

[16], June 11, 2023.

[17], June 11, 2023.

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