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1 Jul, 2017 21:35

IDF targets Syrian army position over ‘errant projectile’ in fifth such exchange over week

Israel has fired at Syrian army positions after projectiles launched from Syrian territory landed on the Israeli side of the border, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said on Twitter. The attack follows a series of similar incidents over the week.

IDF said it targeted the “Syrian military artillery position” on Saturday as retaliation for two stray shells hitting the Israeli-controlled part of the disputed Golan Heights.

“A projectile launched from Syria hit an open area in the northern Golan Heights,” the Israeli military said in a statement. The “errant projectile” that triggered the return fire was “a result of internal fighting in Syria,” it added.

A similar spillover incident reportedly occurred an hour later, when a second shell hit the same area coming from the Syrian side of the border.

The incident has not resulted in any material damage to the Israeli military. No injuries have been reported, according to IDF.

The Israeli army reportedly struck a Syrian army cannon stationed near the Naba'a al-Fawar base located close to the city of Quneitra in south-western Syria, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV channel reported.

The area has seen heavy fighting between Al-Nusra Front and the Syrian forces advancing towards the city of al-Baath. No injuries have been reported among Syrian military personnel as result of the incident.

In the wake of the attack IDF issued a statement, reinforcing its pledge to respond to any spillover fire.

"Israel maintains a policy of non-involvement in the Syrian civil war. However, we will not tolerate any breach of Israel's sovereignty," Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said to Israeli media.

The incident comes as tensions on the Israeli-Syrian border have flared up over the past week, with at least five similar exchanges taking place since last Saturday.

One of the incidents coincided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the Golan Heights on Wednesday.

During the visit Netanyahu reinforced Israel’s claims on the disputed territory and vowed retaliation for any attack on the territory, whatever its source.

Rick Sterling, investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, told RT he considers the Israeli retaliatory fire “a clear violation of Syrian sovereignty.”

Sterling said he believes the source of the projectiles targeting the Israeli-controlled area in the Golan Heights might well be Syrian rebels backed by the Israeli military, who are thus providing a convenient pretext for their ally to mount an attack on Syria.

“[The IDF] are using this as an excuse and it was pointed out that the terrorists can just fire some projectiles into the Israeli-occupied territory and get the Israelis to come and attack the Syrians in alliance with the terrorists,” the journalist told RT.