IDF strikes 2 Syrian military targets following cross-border stray fire

Military says fire did not endanger local residents or security forces.

July 4, 2016 11:27
1 minute read.
Smoke rises during fighting in the village of Ahmadiyah in Syria

Smoke rises during fighting in the village of Ahmadiyah in Syria, as seen from the Israeli side of the border fence between Syria and the Golan Heights [File]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The IDF struck two Syrian regime military targets on Sunday, it announced Monday, in response to stray Syrian fire that hit an area adjacent to the northern security border fence.

Although the Syrian fire did not endanger local residents or security forces, the IDF is “determined to respond to any unusual incident,” it said in a statement.

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The military noted it did not seek to engage in fighting in the Syrian civil war. The IDF has previously retaliated against errant fire from Syria.

The more than five-year conflict in Syria has killed over 400,000 people, according to the United Nations, and has sent a wave of millions of refugees flooding across Europe.

Of all the sectors the IDF monitors carefully, Syria is the most unpredictable and explosive, and carries the biggest potential for a sudden escalation. Additionally, due to Hezbollah’s attempts to traffic weapons from Syria to Lebanon, and its ongoing fight against anti-Assad rebel groups, events in Syria have a direct impact on the Lebanese front.

Just over the Israeli border, in southern Syria, a myriad of heavily armed radical Sunni and Shi’ite factions continue to battle. Al-Qaida wages war on other Sunni jihadists in ISIS, and both are engaged in a fight to the death against the Alawite regime in Damascus and its Shi’ite backers – Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The sectarian warfare that has torn Syria to pieces is unlikely to recede any time soon, and international efforts toward a ceasefire – however well intentioned – appear tragically ill-fated.

In April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Israel has taken action dozens of times beyond the northern border to prevent Hezbollah from attaining “game-changing” weaponry,” indicating strikes in Syria.

Netanyahu’s comments came during a visit to the Golan Height to observe a large-scale maneuver by Paratroop Brigade reservists.

Herb Keinon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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