First Published: 2013-03-24

 

Israel reduces to silence source of Syrian gunfire in Golan

 

Yaalon vows ‘immediate’ answer to all Syrian gunfire onto Israeli occupied Golan Heights, saying Damascus regime is responsible.

 

Middle East Online

By Steve Weizman – JERUSALEM

Israeli army: These are not stray bullets

Israel's new Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Sunday vowed an "immediate" answer to all Syrian gunfire onto the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, saying the Damascus regime was responsible.

"Every violation of Israeli sovereignty and shooting from the Syrian side will immediately be answered by silencing the source of fire," he said in a statement.

His remarks were made shortly after Israeli troops on the strategic plateau fired an Israeli-made Tamuz anti-tank missile at a Syrian army post after coming under fire for the second time in 12 hours, army radio said.

"We view with great seriousness the shooting last night and this morning from Syria at an IDF force on territory of the state of Israel," Yaalon said.

"We see the Syrian regime as responsible for every breach of sovereignty. We shall not allow the Syrian army or any other body to violate Israeli sovereignty firing into our territory."

Earlier, a military spokesman said shots had been fired at troops in the southern Golan Heights.

"The soldiers responded with accurate fire towards the Syrian post from which they were fired upon," he said. No one was hurt on the Israeli side.

It was not immediately clear whether the shooting was from the Syrian army or from rebel forces in the area.

Late on Saturday, gunfire hit several military vehicles travelling in the same area, causing damage but no casualties, the army said.

And earlier this month, a mortar round landed on the Israeli-controlled sector after nearly three months of quiet.

Last November, gunfire from Syria prompted troops to respond with artillery in the first instance of Israeli fire at the Syrian military since the 1973 war.

Israel is closely monitoring its border with Syria and fears that jihadist elements from among the rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad might attempt to attack Israel.

"Nothing is clear there," Amos Gilad, a top official in the defence ministry, told army radio.

"The future is unclear, there are awful acts of murder, a danger of (the country) breaking apart, rising extremist terror, very strong involvement of Iran and Hezbollah," he said, referring to Lebanon's Shiite militia.

He said Israel was still checking into the truth of reports that chemical weapons had been used in Syria last Tuesday, in a move which US President Barack Obama said would be a "gamechanger."

Earlier this month, Israel expressed concern that the UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights could pull out altogether after Syrian rebels snatched 21 of their troops in the ceasefire zone bordering Israel.

Since 1974, the UN's Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has been monitoring the Syrian side of the armistice line with a force of 1,200 troops, although its number has recently dropped to 1,000.

Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community.

It is currently upgrading its security fence along its armistice line with the work expected to be finished by the end of the year.

The United Nations estimates that violence across Syria has killed at least 70,000 people since the conflict erupted in March 2011.

On Saturday alone, at least 64 people were killed in violence across Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding that they included at least 24 civilians.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe