“Several shells fired from Syria landed in the central Golan heights, adjacent to the Israel-Syria border,” an IDF spokesman told the AFP. With shells reportedly landing in an open area, no damage or injuries were reported. The IDF explained that “forces carried out a pinpoint strike, targeting the source of the shooting,” with a hit “confirmed” on a Syrian military position. This marks the eighth time Israel has fired a Tammuz missile into Syria in response to Syrian shells and mortars landing within Israeli territory.
An army spokesman confirmed that Israel submitted an official complaint to the UN about the Syrian shells. The IDF did not indicate whether it believes the Syrian shells are spillover from the Syrian conflict and stray shots mistakenly fired over the border, or whether the shells were deliberately fired into Israeli territory. Regardless, there has been tension in the Golan Heights since the Syrian conflict flared up.
ISRAEL HELPS SYRIAN CIVILIANS
Intense battles between Syrian rebels and Assad regime forces occurred near the border throughout Saturday. Sixteen Syrian civilians were evacuated to Israeli hospitals in the north for treatment over the weekend. Two of them were evacuated to Nahariya Hospital, two to Poriya Hospital in Tiberias, and the others to Ziv Medical Center. Dozens of Syrians, including women and children, have been treated in hospitals in Northern Israel since the beginning of the Syrain uprising.
Presently, there is a humanitarian crisis in Syria. As Ceylan Ozbudak, a Turkish television commentator, noted, “What has been going on in Syria since March 2011 is a terrible massacre. The massacre committed by the Assad regime against the people of Syria has been continuing unabated.” For this reason, Israel has been offering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, while guarding against possible collateral damage within Israeli borders.
ISRAEL TAKES SECURITY PRECAUTIONS
As a result of the instability in Syria, Israel is increasing security along the border, constructing a barrier which is already 60 kilometers long. A fleet of unarmed, Israeli-built Sky Rider drones beam real-time video imagery down to troops on the ground near the fence. According to a military official, the drones and surveillance equipment allow Israeli forces to “see everything from a shepherd to a runaway sheep.” Every day, hundreds of active-duty troops who have rushed north in recent months patrol the Israeli side of the wall.
By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel