A SYRIAN regime tank and soldiers next to a building in central Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
AMMAN - The Syrian army has taken control of a strategic hill that overlooks the Golan Heights, state television said on Monday.
It said the army had taken control of al-Haara hill in the second day of an offensive to seize remaining parts of southwest Syria that are in rebel hands and are close to the border with Israel.
The hilltop, which had a major anti-aircraft radar base that was part of elaborate Syrian army defenses against Israel, fell into rebel hands in October 2014.
"The situation remains unstable in southwest Syria due to the escalation of hostilities. The area witnessed a large-scale displacement which raises serious concerns about the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) who are without appropriate shelter and adequate health assistance," Tarik Jasarevic, a World Health Organization Spokesperson, said in a statement to The Jerusalem Post
. "WHO expresses its deep concern over tens of thousands of displaced Syrians located in hard-to-reach areas of Dar’a and Quneitra who need urgent healthcare, calling on all parties to protect civilians and infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian law."
According to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
last week, Israel has “identified elements” belonging to Iran and its Shi’ite proxy militias who “under the auspices of the regime” are trying to establish themselves on the Golan Heights.
“This effort to establish a terrorist infrastructure under the auspices of the regime, as far as we are concerned, is unacceptable and we will act with force against any terrorist infrastructure that we will see and identify here in the region,” Liberman warned.
Liberman also said that any Syrian soldier in the buffer zone endangers his life.
It has been heavily bombed by Russian and Syrian army raids
in the last two days as the army moved closer to the Israeli border after gaining control of most of Deraa province to the east, according to rebels and a war monitor.
Israel signaled it would not impede the Syrian army offensive, even as it struck Syrian army posts near Aleppo
and elsewhere where it suspects Iranian backed forces are stationed.Anna Ahronheim and Seth J. Frantman contributed to this story.