Syrian Tanks Enter Golan Heights Demilitarized Zone
Syrian tanks have entered the Golan Heights demilitarized zone, raising concerns that the ongoing civil war could spill over into Israel.
The day after the Syrian incursion, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz toured the border region and instructed the IDF to be on high alert in the area. Gantz warned the soldiers, “The Syrian affair could turn into our affair.”
IDF soldiers also told Gant that they could hear tank and automatic weapons fire as well as shouts of “Allahu Akhbar” from the Syrian side, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The IDF has called on the UN, which oversees the demilitarized zone, to manage the withdrawal of Syrian tanks.
Israeli officials, like all of Syria’s neighbors, are watching the conflict closely. While President Bashar al-Assad has never been a friend of Israel—with his support for terrorist groups and alliance with Iran, nevertheless, the border region between the two countries has largely been quiet over the past 40 years. If Assad were to fall from power and be replaced by Islamic radicals, Israel could face a threat similar to the current situation in the Sinai, or worse.
However, for the time being, the IDF believes that the incursion was part of the ongoing civil war and not direct aggression against Israel.