— SPECIAL SECURITY REPORT —
Having ascertained Israel had been fired on 5 times, and maintaining its policy that no attack on its sovereignty go unreciprocated, the IDF Saturday morning delivered precision hits, destroying three Syrian regime artillery positions, one for each projectile that landed inside Israel.
Three of the five projectiles landed in open territory in Israel’s northern Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries.
“Even if this is spillover, this is an exceptional event, and the continuation of such events will only exacerbate Israel’s response,” the army said in a statement, adding that “the IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel and her citizens. The Syrian regime is responsible for all that is happening in its territory.”
The IDF holds the Syrian regime responsible & won’t tolerate any attempt to breach Israeli sovereignty or threaten Israeli civilians’ safety
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) October 21, 2017
The border with Syria has been tense since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. In June, a number of projectiles landed in Israeli territory due to intense fighting on the Syrian side of Quneitra as the Assad regime fought against the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other rebel groups.
The Syrian army is currently engaged in a battle against al-Qaida militants in the village of Beit Jinn near the city of Quneitra near the Israeli border and on Thursday afternoon a projectile hit an open field on the Golan Heights in an apparent case of spillover fire from the fighting in Syria, leading to the IDF to strike regime positions in Quneitra.
A day earlier incoming rocket sirens rang out in several IDF bases in the Golan Heights, set off by internal fighting across the border. According to the IDF both projectiles landed inside Syria and posed no danger to Israel.
With various heavily armed radical groups battling President Bashar Assad, Syria is Israel’s most unpredictable and unstable neighbor and poses one of the largest risks for a sudden escalation. Earlier in the week Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is reported to have told Israel that Moscow has expressed willingness to extend a 10-15 kilometer off-limits zone where Iranian and Hezbollah forces will not be allowed to enter.
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are red-lines for the Jewish State.
Hours before Shoigu landed in Israel, Israeli fighter jets destroyed a Syrian anti-aircraft missile battery stationed some 50 kilometers east of Damascus which had fired on Israeli planes in Lebanese airspace earlier that morning.
Meanwhile, Iran’s military chief Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri warned Israel against violating Syrian airspace “It is not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate Syria anytime it wants,” Baqeri, who was in Damascus, was quoted by Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) as saying.
“We are here in Damascus to coordinate and cooperate in facing our common enemies of Zionists and terrorists,” Bagheri was quoted by Syria’s SANA news agency, adding that “we discussed means of enhancing relations in the future and outlined the bilateral cooperation.”
According to SANA, Ayoub, the Chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Army and the Armed Forces, stated that the relations between the Iranian and Syrian militaries have been strengthened since Iran entered the conflict and will be further enhanced following Baqeri’s visit.
Last month a Patriot missile was used to shoot down a Hezbollah-operated Iranian-made drone which was collecting intelligence for the Syrian regime offensive had crossed into the demilitarized zone on the Israeli-Syrian border.
According to Israel’s army the IDF is acting proportionally to prevent any deterioration and has responded to most of the spillover by retaliating against Assad regime positions.
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