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September 26, 2016 1:43 pm

Israel Deploys Drones Along Syrian Border to Monitor Jihadist Threats, Errant Fire

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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One of the newly purchased drones assisting the IDF in monitoring the Syrian border. Photo: IDF.

One of the newly purchased drones assisting the IDF in monitoring the Syrian border. Photo: IDF.

Israel has purchased and is now deploying drones along its northern border to assist in monitoring and addressing various threats from Syria, where a civil war has been raging for more than five years.

According to a report on Monday in the Hebrew news site Walla, the drones can serve as a crucial tool in observing and preventing spillover from warring factions on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and terrorist attacks against — or infiltrations into — the Jewish state.

One advantage of the unmanned aircraft is that they have cameras that can collect visual data from dozens of yards above a given area. The user-friendly drones are also capable of identifying and distinguishing between people and vehicles — something that provides effective tactical assistance to Israeli troops on the ground.

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The Syrian side of the Golan Heights has become a region of virtual anarchy, the report said, with many different jihadist groups flooding the area. These include: ISIS and affiliated organizations, local militias, Hezbollah, and other Iranian-funded terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad.

According to Walla, IDF forces regularly patrol the border, closely watching for any suspicious changes in activities or movements on the other side.

One problem the IDF has had to deal with over the past few years has been errant fire from battles in Syria between pro-Assad regime forces and rebels, as well as internal fights among the latter. Hits on Israeli territory usually stem from a lack of precision in mortar and artillery fire. The IDF has been given the order by the political echelon to respond to such incidents within less than 24 hours — and this, Walla reported, has enhanced Israel’s deterrence and reduced the scope of the spillover.

As The Algemeiner reported at the end of July — around the 10th anniversary of the Second War in Lebanon — assessments in the IDF are that a successful inter-Syrian diplomatic agreement could lead to fighting not only between Israel and rebel jihadis, but also with with Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist organization which supports the Assad regime.

On Saturday, Israeli minister and former IDF general Yoav Gallant told The Algemeiner that Iran must not be allowed to remain a hegemonic power in a post-civil-war Syria.

“The greatest threat to Israel is posed not by ISIS or al-Qaeda, but rather by Iran and Hezbollah, both of which must be isolated from the Western world,” Gallant said.

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  • Using drones to monitor the Syrian border is a strategic advantage for Israel. Having a technological edge over its enemies gives Israel the ability to defend its borders. And the greatest threat to Israel is a nuclear-armed Iran.