Syrian gunmen, IDF forces exchange fire over Golan border

Army unit at Kuneitra Border Crossing accurately strikes target in response to fire stemming from across Golan, IDF says.

IDF soldier on Quneitra border Golan 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF soldier on Quneitra border Golan 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Syrian gunmen directed small arms fire across the Israeli border on Sunday morning. An IDF unit that was present on the border, near the Kuneitra Border Crossing, returned fire, using small arms fire and accurately striking the target, an army spokeswoman said.
The IDF believes the cross-border fire likely came from a Syrian army position. It remained unclear whether Syrian soldiers sustained casualties during the incident.
Heavy battles between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and Syrian rebels have been underway in the Kuneitra area.
On Sunday, a Syrian mortar shell crossed into Israel and exploded near the Druse village of Majdal Shams.
There were no injuries in the incident.
Since the internal Syrian fighting has spread right up to Israel’s border, the IDF has been busy implementing a code of conduct in the area, according to which those who fire on Israel – intentionally or accidentally – can expect a response in the form of return fire.
In October, two soldiers were lightly injured in the area by shrapnel from a Syrian mortar. The Syrian artillery post that fired the projectile was destroyed by the IDF soon after.
During the same month, the IDF tested a barrier on the border with Syria and found it to be missile proof.
The Golan Brigade carried out tests, under the command of Col. Arik Hen, to check the five-meter high barrier’s ability to withstand a direct missile strike, as well as small arms fire.
The barrier is designed to prevent terrorists infiltrating from Syria.
After the missile test, soldiers simulated terrorists ambushing a patrol and forcing the patrol members to cross the barrier to engage the “attackers.”
“The pastoral scenery of the Golan Heights, awash with basalt and flowing streams, can change in a momentary bang to a battlefield of blood, fire, and plumes of smoke,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said during a speech in October.
Earlier this year, the army fired a Tamuz guided surface- to-surface missile at a Syrian army post following two incidents of gunfire directed at Israeli soldiers.
The missile struck its target, reportedly wounding two Syrian soldiers at a machine-gun nest. There were no injuries or damage reported on the Israeli side, the army said.