The Israeli Defense Force has attacked two Syrian army tanks after a dozen spillover projectiles landed in the Israel-controlled part of the Golan Heights from Syrian territory.
The Israeli military said several projectiles fired from Syria “hit an open area” in the northern Golan Heights. No injuries were reported.
Calling the incident an “unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty,” IDF aircraft targeted the “origin of launches and two Syrian tanks”.
In response to over 10 projectiles launched from Syria, IAF aircraft targeted origin of launches & 2 Syrian tanks
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) June 24, 2017
The Israeli army instructed farmers and civilians near the Quneitra border crossing into Syria to avoid open fields, the Jerusalem Post reports.
An IDF spokesperson told the news outlet that Israel’s retaliation came less than an hour after the spillover fire.
The IDF reportedly stressed that it views Damascus as “ultimately responsible for what is happening in its territory.”
Israel rigorously guards the western part of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. It has also been regularly violating Syria’s sovereignty during the country’s six-year-long conflict. The IDF has conducted several night air raids on Syrian targets that it claimed were weapons systems being shipped to Lebanon by the militant Hezbollah group, which supports Damascus.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) June 24, 2017
The latest high-profile incident occurred in March, when Syrian air defense fired missiles at Israeli jets returning from an airstrike on a target near Palmyra. One of the Syrian missiles was shot down by an Israeli SAM missile over Israeli territory.
The first recorded combat engagement of the Arrow air defense system prompted the IDF to officially confirm its role in the attack. Usually Israel neither denies nor confirms involvement in airstrikes in Syria.
Following the incident, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country will continue to attack targets in Syria as it sees necessary.
A source on the ground told RIA Novosti that the Syrian government forces have been repelling a massive Nusra-Front terrorists’ attack in the Golan Heights when they were struck by the Israeli Air Force in the area.
“The [Syrian] army repelled a massive al-Nusra Front attack on the city of Baath in the Quneitra province [bordering the Golan Heights]. The army took up the fight with terrorists. The attackers have suffered losses. [Syrian] aviation and artillery helped repel the attacks,” the source told RIA Novosti.
According to the source, a Israeli Air Force helicopter launched a strike on the Syrian army in Baath at the moment of the al-Nusra Front offensive.
Earlier on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that the Israeli Air Force attacked the Syrian government forces’ tanks and artillery positions after 10 projectiles fell on the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights.
According to Al Mayadeen channel citing a source, at least two Syrian soldiers were killed in the airstrike.
The majority of such incidents are described by the Israeli military as accidental overspills during clashes between the Syrian government forces and opposition groups.
The Golan Heights, internationally recognized as Syrian territory, was seized by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1981, the Israeli parliament voted to annex two-thirds of the region. The United Nations has repeatedly stated that Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights is illegal, calling for it to be returned to Syria.