US calls for restraint from Israel, Syria

State Department official warns both countries to "avoid any rash action" that might jar a volatile situation on the border.

June 7, 2013 04:07
2 minute read.
IDF tank soldiers in the Golan Heights.

IDF tank soldiers 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned both Israel and Syria to avoid any rash action that might jar a volatile situation along the Israeli-Syrian border during a briefing with the media on Thursday night.

"We continue to call upon all parties to avoid any action that would jeopardize the long-held ceasefire between Israel and Syria," Psaki said.

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Her remarks come at a time when the Syrian civil war is threatening to spill over the border into Israel, a worrisome fact that was highlighted by Austrian UN peacekeepers' decision to vacate the area.


Quneitra, the site of Syria's only border crossing with Israel, is considered an important site to both Assad's forces and the rebel fighters, and has become a hotspot in the fighting in recent days.

Psaki addressed the problematic closeness of the fighting to Israel, saying, "We do note the reports of clashes overnight in the Golan Heights, where the regime fired four mortar shells that struck Israeli territory."

"We've been very clear about our concerns over regional instability caused by the crisis in Syria," she added.

She also noted US concerns about "the influx of foreign fighters (to Syria)."

Middle East intelligence expert, Daniel Nisman, described Israel's precarious situation for The New York Times saying "what it means is that the Golan Heights is a lot more unstable and requires a lot more vigilance."

"It's definitely a heightened risk, if only because it blurs the situation," Nisman added.

While Psaki stopped short of asking the opposition to avoid its assault on Quneitra, she charged the rebel forces "not to take the fight into areas like Lebanon and other areas outside of Syria."

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Regarding the Austrians' decision to withdraw peace keeping personnel from the area, Psaki said, "we've asked the Austrians to work with the UN on the timing of their withdrawal in order for the UN to find a replacement for these forces."

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