Syrian rebels seize border crossing near Israeli Golan Heights
Rebels seized a border crossing on the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria on Thursday, activists said, as heavy clashes raged between the opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's forces, according to Reuters.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was the first time rebels seized a border crossing next to the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, but it was unclear whether the anti-Assad fighters would be able to hold the site, Reuters reported.
Israel is worried that the Golan, which was taken back from Syria in 1967, will become a place where attacks on Israelis will be launched by jihadi fighters, who are taking part in the armed struggle against Assad.
“The rebels have seized the crossing near the old city of Quneitra in the occupied Golan Heights,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory. “There are heavy explosions and fierce clashing ongoing in the area,” Reuters reported.
In May, the Israeli military chief issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the Syrian leader would “bear the consequences” if any more attacks on Israeli forces near the Syrian border occurred.
The Golan Heights have been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, which kicked off with peaceful protests at least two years ago.
However, there have been only minor flare-ups in the region to date, with Syrian shells crashing in the occupied Golan and Israel firing in retaliation.