Intensifying clashes between Syria’s government forces and rebels along the country’s southern border with Israel has once again caused errant fire to spill over into the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The IDF said “a mortar shell exploded in an open area, causing no injuries or damage.” In response to the errant fire, the IDF attacked a Syrian army mortar launching pad, from which the military said the mortar-shell was fired toward Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the city of Katzrin, which is located on the Golan Heights, that Israel has not been involved in the war in Syria but that it would respond to any spillover of the fighting into its territory.
Netanyahu further stressed that Israel would not allow the Islamic Republic of the Islamic State to establish a front against the Jewish state from Syria, and that even though the international community considered the Israeli Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory, the Golan Heights will always remain a part of the sovereign state of Israel.
“We have a clear line; we do not intervene in the bloody conflict in Syria, which has been raging on for six years, but we are determined to react aggressively and hard to each strike to our sovereignty.
Whoever fires toward our territory and endangers our civilians will encounter a swift and severe response. We are not willing to accept, not spillover or trickles on the Golan or any other area. In the same manner, we will not allow radical Islam led by Iran or the Islamic State to establish a new front of terror against the state of Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. We will defend the Golan heights, we are staying in the Golan heights and the Golan heights will always remain a part of the sovereign state of Israel,” said Netanyahu.
Since the beginning of the week, dozens of mortar shells have exploded on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, as a result of the raging battles between the Syrian military of President Bashar Assad and rebels, including groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda. In response to the reoccurring spillovers, the IDF retaliated several times, destroying the mortar launching pads and tanks it said were responsible for the attacks.
The IDF reiterated its position every time it retaliated, that it views the regime of President Bashar Assad as solely responsible for any attacks emanating from Syria’s territory, and will respond with force to any violation of Israel’s sovereignty.