Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Seven dead in Israeli air strike on militants near Golan: army

The border crossing between Syria and Jordan. AFP The border crossing between Syria and Jordan. AFP
Charlie Simmons | 03 August, 2018, 17:16

Moscow, Damascus's weightiest ally, has in turn sought coordination with Israel as a bridge with Washington in dealing with Syria's complex war.

Israel tracked the armed infiltrators who approached the border on Wednesday night and a military aircraft struck as they attempted to cross a security fence on the Israeli side of the frontier.

It said the new Russian posts would be handed over to the Syrian government once the situation had stabilised.

The Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday it had targeted and killed seven "armed terror operatives" just 650 feet from the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Israel seized 1,200 sq km of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

ISIL and its affiliated Khaled Bin Al Waleed group still control pockets in southern Syria, as well as some western areas, close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The surrounding region has seen heavy fighting recently between pro-government forces and opposition rebels, with the latter surrendering much of the area to the Russian-backed government.

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian General Staff said conditions have been created for the resumption of United Nations peacekeeping patrols along the area separating Syria and Israel.

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Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited northern Israel Thursday, where he said he believes Assad's forces will help maintain calm.

"It did not seem as if they were fleeing, seeking refuge", Conricus said. He reiterated Israel's demand that Iran not set up military bases against it in Syria, nor that Syria be used to smuggle arms to Hezbollah guerrillas in neighbouring Lebanon. They didn't elaborate but later Putin said he agreed with Trump on securing Israel's border with Syria in line with the 1974 deal.

The Israeli military would not comment on that development.

Israeli troops were on "high alert and readiness" following the strike.

Several reports claimed the air strikes were being carried out by "Israeli warplanes" or an "Israeli UAV or fighter jet", aiming at a site belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in western Damascus.

A series of blistering offensives backed by Moscow and Tehran has forced the fighters out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad's regime back in control of almost two-thirds of the country.

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