The Golan Heights

Syrian army soldiers leave their position after it was bombed by rebel fighters during a battle in Syria near the border fence with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights September 1, 2014. Heavy fighting between Syrian army forces and rebels erupted on the Golan Heights on Monday, a Reuters photographer said, but it was unclear if either of the two sides had gained an advantage to control a key frontier crossing. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR44H7H

Don McBurn hunkered down behind some rocks below the Golan Heights. Around him, the Palestinian Army, funded and weaponised by Iran, Syria, Egypt and other Arab States, had set out their monster guns and artillery, relentlessly firing at the Settlements inside the Wall. The hills there were now occupied only by equally vicious Israeli artillery, raining fire down on the Palestinians. Rockets and missiles fell and exploded constantly, if they weren’t first blown up in the air by anti-missile missiles. Shrapnel fell all around the seasoned Reporti-Sub, who was wondering how much more of this he could take.

He was not sure how long it could carry on before he was hit or blown to bits; he had to get out, now! He turned and began to run down the slope, scrunching and sliding on the loose stones and sand under his feet. He was well protected by a fully armoured suit, but a direct hit would finish him, as surely as those he saw killed every day.

McBurn reached his Jeep, the door swinging open. He scrambled in and told the driver, a young Palestinian, to step on it! They drove away at breakneck speed from the shelling, narrowly avoiding potholes and more explosions. Five kilometres further on, breathing a sigh of relief, they pulled into a Palestinian village, a bare place of block walls and hasty shade. He raced to reach the armoured hatch.

“That was close!” he shouted, adrenalin still pumping through his veins. “What do you think they will do now?”

“I don’t know,” replied the Army Colonel sitting at a desk inside the underground bunker, ringed with telephones, short-wave radios, and satellite receivers. “Maybe they will bomb us here, though we have been careful not send any ordnance from this location. They can trace us, of course, from the satellite images.”

“Are there still people, families, living here?” asked Don.

“Of course! Where would they go? This is their land.” replied the Colonel.

“How can you possibly win this war?” asked Don. “They may be on their knees, but Israel still has massive resources, and air power – something you seem to be lacking.”

“I have heard that Syria is due to attack soon with their missiles!” said the Colonel.

“Good God! Not nuclear?”

“Hopefully not. We shall have to wait and see!”

The first long-range Syrian missiles fell on Petah Tikvah later that very evening. They were not nuclear, yet. Most of the Syrian nuclear facilities had already been wiped out, but the Iranians were rumoured to have new, secret, as yet undiscovered bases.

The next day, in retaliation, the Israelis carpet-bombed an area all around their Wall to a ten kilometre extent. Don sheltered in the under-ground bunker, trying to get in contact with his Reporti-Sub base organisation at Oodles. It was time to get out!
Finally, he contacted someone on the satellite phone, the aerial having been pushed up through a hole in the roof. They would send a Stealth helicopter in forty-eight hours, if the shelling subsided and they could get through. Otherwise, he was on his own. This job was getting too ridiculous – he needed a rest!

The next day, he poked his head out of the bunker. The village was completely flattened, the ground still smoking. There was rubble and stone in heaped piles surrounding craters and collapsed buildings. He saw some bodies, and many body parts. The smell was gruesome. What could he do? They were beyond help now. He withdrew back down underground with the rest of the few survivors.

The day after that, he was due to be rescued. He listened in anxiously to the Comms Set. They would be there soon; just hang on! Then he heard the unmistakeable drone and vibration of a Stealth chopper; much quieter than normal, but there, thank God! He collected all his stuff together and poked his head out of the hatch again.

The helicopter landed just as the Israelis started their shelling again, despite the International Call-signs and messages sent out by Oodles. Don raced across the scarred ground, his feet slipping, his ankles twisting this way and that. Somehow his army boots kept him upright and he instinctively ducked under the rotor blades. A huge explosion landed to his right, but then an even harsher blow nearly knocked him into the side of the chopper. There was an intense flash of whiter-than-white light that almost blinded him, and a fierce, hot wind that scorched the skin from his face. He was hauled in through the helicopter’s sliding door as it was already taking off and thrown unceremoniously onto a pile of baggage in the corner. They roared away, going south.

Don shivered uncontrollably. He tried to relax; he was still alive; they might escape. In a few minutes he staggered up and looked out of the back side windows. His last view was of the distinctive, unmistakeable, white mushroom cloud on the horizon. It could be Jerusalem, or Damascus; he wasn’t sure. Over to the west, he just couldn’t believe his eyes as yet another mushroom cloud rose up above the purple-grey mountainous backdrop; it could be Isfahan or anywhere in Iran. He closed his eyes, weeping, the tears rolling down his face.

Somehow, they managed to get the chopper to the aircraft carrier in the Red Sea. There was no time to recuperate; he was instantly bundled onto a long-range jet plane and was hurtling back to the Oodles/Government Base in Scotland before he could get his breath.

After a few days of treatment and debriefing, he crawled back to London like a wounded dog, to die in his last refuge, the old empty flat high above Crouch End.



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