The Israel Defense Forces confirmed Thursday morning that the Quneitra border crossing on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights has been routed by rebels fighting forces loyal to embattled President Bashar Assad, Army Radio reported.

The victory would be significant since control over the Quneitra crossing point is considered one of the more symbolic demonstrations of power exercised by the Damascus government.

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Israeli military sources told Army Radio in recent weeks that a takeover of the Quneitra crossing by rebels would constitute a major turning point in Jerusalem’s attitude toward the conflict ravaging its neighbor to the northeast.

Earlier on Thursday, a mortar shell landed at a United Nations base in Quneitra, just a few hundred meters from the border fence separating Israel and Syria, according to media reports Thursday.

Israel Radio reported that soldiers loyal to Assad were engaged in fierce gun battles with rebels near the border fence.

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The Israeli military has instructed agrarians on the Golan Heights to keep away from the border fence area near Quneitra.

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