IDF Tank 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The army is preparing for the possibility that Syrian soldiers will deploy along
the border and actively defend men who try to infiltrate the Golan Heights
during demonstrations expected to break out following the Palestinian
Authority’s unilateral declaration of statehood at the United Nations in
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The IDF got its first taste of the demonstrations along the
Syrian border on May 15 when Palestinian protestors crossed into Majdal
A few weeks later, protests again broke out near Majdal Shams but
the IDF succeeded in preventing an infiltration.
Syria media later
reported that more than 20 people were killed.
The IDF has been training
forces for a scenario during which soldiers from the Syrian military will also
approach the border and try to actively defend protesters attempting to
infiltrate Israeli territory.
“We could face civilians who start a
demonstration and are then joined by the military as part of the regime’s
so-called desire to protect its civilians,” one IDF officer explained.
to this possibility, the IDF will likely deploy tanks along the border with
troops to prevent a violation of Israeli sovereignty and confront the Syrian
soldiers if necessary. The IDF has held a number of exercises recently including
the use of tanks to enable soldiers to practice how they will respond in such a
“The number one goal will be to deescalate the situation and
try to defuse tensions to prevent a larger conflict,” another defense official
Part of the IDF’s strategy is to contact various international
organizations and governments to work together to contain the demonstrations.
The IDF is holding talks with UNIFIL in Lebanon and UNDOF in Syria in an effort
to get the two peacekeeping forces to deploy along their respective
Last week, The Jerusalem Post
reported the army was procuring
new non-lethal weapons
that will help disperse large demonstrations and marches
that could break out in the West Bank and along the borders in the North. The
Ground Forces Command has also instituted new rules of engagement for snipers
who will be deployed to stop demonstrations and marches, including at what
distance they are allowed to open fire.