Middle EastWar

Israel targets Syrian military post after shell lands in Golan buffer zone 

The Israel Defense Forces fired on a Syrian military post after a shell launched during fighting between the regime and rebels landed in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel, the military said.

“A short while ago, the IDF targeted a Syrian military post from which a shell was launched and fell in the buffer zone, adjacent to and east of the security fence,” the IDF spokesperson tweeted on Friday, July 6.

“The launch was part of the internal fighting in Syria.”

The spokesperson added: “The IDF is not involved in the internal fighting in Syria, however, it will continue to implement the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement that includes maintaining the buffer zone.”

Established to end the Yom Kippur War, the 80-km (50-mile) long buffer zone separates the Israel-occupied Golan Heights from the rest of the Syria and is secured by a United Nations observation force.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly sought to expand the zone, which is currently between 0.5-10 km wide to 60-km wide as a buffer between Israeli territory and Iran-backed militas in Syria, although Israeli officials have denied this. Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected the request last year, and said the militas would not come closer than 5 kilometers, according to the reports.

In January, Israeli defense officials told the country’s Channel 10 news that Syrian forces who enter the buffer zone would be legitimate targets.

In May, Israeli forces likely struck the Al Kiswah industrial zone near Damascus after calling up reserve troops and ordering missile shelters open in the Golan Heights. Israel is blamed for striking an Iranian military base in the same area in December.

The IDF rarely comments on operations in Syria, but is believed to be behind airstrikes on several Syrian sites since the country’s civil war began.

Israeli Air Force commander Major General Amikam Norkin said on May 22 that the IDF’s F-35 Adir fighter jets had been used for combat missions in the region, the first public acknowledgement of the plane’s operational use.

Norkin said the jets were used in two separate strikes, but not the May 10 IAF operation that took out dozens of Iranian targets in Syria. The IDF has accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds special forces of launching that attack against Israeli targets in the Golan Heights.

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