IDF crosses border, destroys two illegal Syrian army positions

The IDF destroyed two Syrian posts built illegally in the demilitarized buffer zone on the Golan Heights.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

IDF troops crossed into Syrian territory and destroyed two army posts that had been built in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

Forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had returned to the Golan Heights area along the border where they had set up two Syrian army positions located in the demilitarized zone, in violation of the ceasefire agreement it signed with Israel in 1974.

The unusual cross-border raid was carried out overnight last week when IDF troops came close to Syrian soldiers, but did not engage with them and returned without being detected, said Captain Michael Zilberg of the Nahal Brigade, whose soldiers were involved.

“You have to arrive at an operation like this very focused,” said Captain Zilberg. “Once you cross [the border], your pulse rises a little. You are facing the enemy. It should be understood that we were about 500 meters from a manned [Syrian] position.”

One of the team commanders, identified only as Lieutenant “A”, described the operation as a “quiet, silent walk to the [target] points, deploying the explosives on the two positions and blowing them up at the same time.”

“We know about the Syrian army’s cooperation with Hezbollah, and each of its military positions has the potential to be a dual base. We cannot allow southern Syria to be southern Lebanon,” said Lt. Col. Tal Goritsky, commander of the Granite Battalion that carried out the attack.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group that controls southern Lebanon has been fighting on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Israel has repeatedly warned both Iran and Hezbollah it would not allow them to establish a presence in Syria close to the Israeli border.

Several years ago, Assad’s forces lost control of the area along the Israeli border to rebel forces and Islamic State terrorists, only regaining control last year with the help of Hezbollah and extensive aerial bombardments by Russia.

A year after the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel and Syria signed a disengagement agreement under which both sides are banned from a demilitarized buffer zone monitored by UN peacekeepers. The two Syrian emplacements were in direct violation of the ceasefire agreement and the IDF said it released details of the raid as “a signal to the Syrian regime and an Israeli statement that it will not allow the violation of sovereignty,” Kan reported.