Syria asks IDF to hold fire as it battles rebels

UN peacekeeping troops report says Syrian regime asked IDF not to fire at their tanks in Golan ceasefire buffer zone.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 9, 2013 01:46
1 minute read.
A United Nations (UN) peacekeeping soldier

A United Nations (UN) peacekeeping soldier. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

The Syrian regime asked Israel not to fire on its tanks in the Golan Heights buffer zone between the two countries during Thursday's internecine fighting in the area, according to a report apparently by the United Nations peacekeeping troops on the Golan. 

The Syrian armed forces were battling opposition troops who had briefly seized control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria.

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American journalist Nabil Abi Saab, who regularly covers United Nations activity in his blog UN-Report, on Saturday posted a copy of a document apparently from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors the ceasefire between Israel and Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur.

Saab writes in his blog that he was informed by diplomats that the document was sent to the UN Security Council on Friday, by Herve Ladsous, UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations. The report states that the IDF warned UNDOF that it would "take action" if Syrian army tanks continued to operate in the buffer zone.

After receiving the message, the Syria regime asked that Israel refrain from firing on its vehicles as "the presence of the tanks was solely for the purpose of fighting the armed members of the opposition." Israel acceded to the request, but did confirm that it had given medical treatment to members of the Syria opposition wounded in the fighting.

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The battle at the Quneitra crossing ended Thursday with the Syria regime regaining full control of the area. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have been fighting for more than two years against the opposition that is determined to unseat him. More than 80,000 people are reported to have died since the fighting began in early 2011.


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