The IDF instructed farmers and civilians on Wednesday to stay away from the border with Syria on the Golan Heights.

The measure came after intense fighting between the Syrian army and rebels in the Quneitra  crossing region.

Explosions from the fighting in Syria were audible in the Israeli Golan Heights. The IDF said that three errant mortar shells from the fighting fell in Israeli territory, damaging a pair of vehicles.

Fighting between Assad and rebels trying to seize the crossing  has often spilled over into Israeli territory during the three-and-half year civil war.

Israel has returned fire into Syria on several occasions in the past after errant mortar shells hit Israeli territory, but had not done so in response to the latest cross-border fire as of Wednesday morning.

The Quneitra crossing is the last area of the border that remains in the control of Assad's forces, and rebels, many believed to be Islamists, have been trying to wrest control of the strategic area from the Syrian military forces for months.

The IDF watches closely as rebels and Syrian army forces attack one another every day. It continues to make preparations for the day when jihadi gunmen turn their sights southward, toward the Israeli border.

“The pastoral scenery of the Golan Heights, awash with basalt and flowing streams, can change in a momentary bang to a battlefield of blood, fire and plumes of smoke,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned last October, in reference to the unstable and unpredictable nature of the Syrian border region, and the increase in terror groups in the area, including al-Qaida-affiliated groups, and Hezbollah, which sent units from Lebanon to fight for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.


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