Israeli military, Syrian regime forces in border skirmish

After an apparent accidental attack by Syrian regime forces damaged an Israeli security fence near the Golan Heights, Israel says it launched an attack against two regime targets within Syria.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Israeli tanks maneuver during a military exercise in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights near the border with Syria on June 23, 2016

Israel attacked two regime targets in Syria’s central Golan Heights region after “unusual” stray fire originating from Syria struck and damaged an Israeli security fence on the demarcation line, in an area Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli tanks maneuver during a military exercise in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights near the border with Syria on June 23, 2016

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said the accidental attack didn’t threaten the lives of any of the Israelis living in the border area. No information was given describing the weapons used in the initial attack or what Israel used in retaliation.

The official position of Israel has been that of neutrality for much of the conflict in Syria, although in April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that the state had launched dozens of attacks within Syria, aimed at attempting to restrict the procurement of arms by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group, an ally of regime leader Bashar al Assad.

"We act when we need to act, including here across the border” Netanyahu said in April while visiting a military exercise in the Golan Heights.

An Israeli air force F-15 fighter jet flys over Ramon Crater near Mizpe Ramon in southern Israel

This comes after an earlier report in June accusing Israeli planes of bombing a regime-held base, south of the Syrian city of Homs, according to the Syrian news website Zaman al-Awsl. Israel has not responded to the report.

With so many different nations forming alliances on the battlefields in Syria, steps have been taken by Russia and Israel to minimise the chances of their troops accidentally engaging each other.

Russia has been militarily intervening in the Syrian war and supporting Assad since September 2015. Iran, another long-time supporter of the Assad regime, has also sent Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to fight alongside the regime’s forces.

Israel has been particularly concerned by Iran’s involvement in Syria and often targets Iranian commanders and Hezbollah militants around the Golan Heights with air strikes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, adjusts a ribbon as he attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Tuesday, June 7, 2016.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adjusts a ribbon.

To that end, Israel and Russia formed a joint committee for coordination of actions in Syria last year.

TRTWorld and agencies