Nakba Day protesters return to Syria from Majdal Shams

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
May 15, 2011 17:22

1 Syrian dead as IDF fires on rioters crossing border; Lebanon claims IDF kills 10 at border; IDF says Lebanese army responsible.

3 minute read.



Protesters in Majdal Shams on Nakba Day

majdal shams nakba day 311. (photo credit:Channel 10)

The dozens of Syrian protesters that had been protesting in the central square of Magdal Shams left the Druse village and were crossing the border back into Syria on Sunday afternoon.

Residents of Majdal Shams convinced the protesters to return to Syria and said that the situation in the village was returning to normal, Army Radio reported. This followed the majority of protesters being returned to Syria by the IDF about one hour before hand.

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The incident began when approximately 1,000 people on the Syrian side ran towards the border earlier on Sunday.  The closest home to the border in Majdal Shams is about thirty meters from the border with Syria. Some 150 Syrians infiltrated the border and entered the Druse village.

One Syrian was killed and 30 or 40 were wounded in clashes which ensued with the IDF. The army stated that soldiers fired at protesters' legs, and said it was investigating how the infiltrators successfully crossed the border into Israel.

The IDF detected Syrian military nearby, who were not preventing protesters from crossing the border. Col. Eshkol Shukran, commander of the Golan Regional Brigade was lightly injured by rocks thrown in the incident. Following the incident, IDF tanks and paratroopers were deployed throughout Majdal Shams.

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'Border incidents are Iranian provocations'

IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav "Poli" Mordechai described the incident in which pro-Palestinians demonstrators crossed from Syria into Israel as an "Iranian provocation."

"The radical axis of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas is very clear," Brig.-Gen. Yoav "Poli" Mordechai told Channel 10 News. "We have one incident in Maroun a-Ras area on the Lebanese border and a second one at Majdal Shams, where we see fingerprints of Iranian provocation aimed at creating friction," he added.

Another Israeli official said, "this is a cynical and transparent act by the Syrian regime to create a crisis on the border with Israel in order to distract public opinion from the very real problems at home."

"Syria is a police state. This sort of thing could not happen without the support of the regime. It is clear they wanted this to play the Israel card, in order to silence their own democratic opposition," the official said.

Lebanon: Several killed in border clash

Also Sunday, IDF soldiers fired in the air and at the legs of protesters to repel Palestinians demonstrating at Maroun a-Ras, on the Lebanese-Israeli border near the Israeli town of Avivim. Conflicting reports about the number of people killed were circulated. The Lebanese army claimed ten Lebanese were killed in the incident, while the IDF put the number at three to five.

The IDF stated that Lebanese Armed Forces were in the area and responsible for a significant amount of gunfire. The IDF believes all or some of the Lebanese protesters killed in the incident were killed by Lebanese Armed Forces.

"Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians approached the fence at Marun Aras. The Lebanese army did not stop them. When IDF saw them attempting to destroy fence, they took steps to stop them," Mordechai told Channel 10.

Police mobilized the Lebanon Border Unit, the Counter-Terrorism Unit and other special units to the North.

Ten IDF soldiers and 3 commanders were injured in the two events at the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

Yaakov Lappin and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report

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