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Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents during the Syrian Civil War

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Location  Golan Heights, Israel
Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents during the Syrian Civil War

Several incidents have taken place on the Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line during the Syrian Civil War, straining the relations between the countries. The incidents are considered a spillover of the Quneitra Governorate clashes since 2012 and later incidents between Syrian Army and the rebels, ongoing on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan and the Golan Neutral Zone and the Hezbollah involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Through the incidents, which began in late 2012, as of mid-2014, one Israeli civilian was killed and at least 4 soldiers wounded; on the Syrian-controlled side, it is estimated that at least ten soldiers were killed, as well as two unidentified militants, who attempted to penetrate into Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights.

Contents

2012

On 11 November 2012, a stray mortar shell from fighting in Syria's Quneitra Governorate landed near an Israeli military outpost in the Golan Heights. Israel responded with a "warning shot" and released a statement warning further retaliation if the attacks persist.

On 17 November 2012, there was another incident where Syrian army fire hit an IDF patrol near the DMZ, damaging one jeep although no injuries were reported. Israeli artillery responded by shelling the army position and Syrian army fired back with mortars. Israel confirmed a direct hit on the source of fire and said that Syrian soldiers may have been killed by the incident.

On 25 November 2012, clashes between rebels and the army resulted in stray bullets striking near an IDF vehicle driving along a fence at the Israeli border with the DMZ. No injuries or damages were reported, and Israel did not retaliate.

2013

On 24 March 2013, the IDF fired a guided missile at a Syrian machine gun nest after Israeli troops were shot at twice in the Golan Heights. No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the shooting, during which army vehicles were hit.

There was an exchange of fire between Syria and Israel on 21 May 2013 in the Golan Heights. An Israeli vehicle was hit by Syrian fire with the Israeli's retaliating and destroying the source of the attack.

On 17 July 2013, an Israeli army force on a routine patrol of the ceasefire line with Syria came under fire and shot back at a group of unidentified suspects on the frontier. There were no injuries among IDF soldiers in the incident.

On 17 August 2013, after several Syrian mortar shells exploded in the Golan Heights - the IDF fired a guided missile at a Syrian army post.

2014

On 1 March 2014, two rockets were fired on an Israeli post on Mount Hermon, in what is widely believed to be a retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah target near the Lebanese-Syrian border.

On 18 March 2014, an Israeli jeep traveling on the Golan Heights near the Syrian border came under attack, when an explosive device was detonated in its vicinity. One soldier was seriously wounded. Another three soldiers sustained light-to-moderate injuries. IDF 155 Artillery battery returned fire across the border following the incident and shot several shells on a Syrian outpost. Israel also responded by carrying out multiple airstrikes against Syrian targets, including a military headquarters, artillery batteries and a training base of the Syrian army. The Syrian army reported that the Israeli airstrikes killed one Syrian soldier and wounded seven. this happened after a few days after a similar incident in the Israeli-Lebanese border when another jeep landed on an explosive cargo and Israel responded with artillery and tanks fire towards Lebanon. Israel blamed Hezbollah for both incidents.

On 28 March 2014, Israeli soldiers opened fire on two gunmen seen attempting to sabotage the border fence with Syria on the Golan Heights. IDF said both armed suspects were struck by the gunfire.

On 2 June 2014, after Syrian shells flew in the direction of Israeli military posts on Mount Hermon, the IDF responded with artillery salvos toward the sources of fire in Syria. There were no injuries or damages on the Israeli side.

On 4 June 2014, two mortar shells were fired from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan. The Iron Dome missile defense system was activated for the first time in northern Israel to intercept the two shells. At least two intercepting missiles were fired towards the Syrian ceasefire line, but were "called off" in-flight by the Iron Dome's operators when it was made clear the shells were going to fall in open fields. The falling shells caused fires in several spots in the area, but firefighters were called at the scene and put out the fires.

On 22 June 2014, an Anti-Tank missile was fired across the border from Syria on a water truck moving along the security fence. A 14-year-old boy, the son of the contractor that was driving the truck, was killed and 3 other Israeli civilians were injured from the blast.

On 23 June 2014, the Israeli military launched several airstrikes targeting Syrian troops in retaliation for an attack the day before. At least ten Syrian soldiers were killed during the strikes.

On 7 July 2014, a mortar shell launched from Syria hit the Golan Heights, causing no injuries or damage. IDF responded by firing at suspicious positions on the Syrian side of the border.

On 13 July 2014, a rocket landed in an open area of the Golan Heights. No injuries or damage were reported. The IDF reported that the rocket was deliberately fired from Syria at Israel.

On 15 July 2014, after a rocket hit the Golan Heights, Israeli warplanes struck three targets, killing 18 Syrians, including eight civilians and ten soldiers.

On 24 August 2014, five rockets from Syria landed across the border with Israel in the Golan Heights. The rockets landed in open areas and no injuries were reported.

On 27 August 2014, three errant mortar shells fired from Syria hit the Golan Heights, wounding an Israeli officer and causing damage to a pair of vehicles. The IDF responded with artillery fire against a Syrian army post. An Israeli civilian was lightly injured after a mortar fell in northern Golan.

On 31 August 2014, the IDF shot down a drone that entered Israeli air space from the Quneitra region in Syria. Army sources said the drone likely belonged to the military of the Assad regime, and strayed into Israeli airspace by accident.

On 4 September 2014, the IDF fired a missile at a Syrian army post in retaliation for stray rocket fire that exploded earlier in the day on the Golan Heights.

On 8 September 2014, an IDF soldier was lightly injured in the Golan by a stray bullet.

On 23 September 2014, Israel shot down an errant Syrian jet fighter that had strayed over the Golan Heights.

2015

On 27 January 2015, two projectiles fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights without causing injuries or damage. The IDF returned artillery fire toward the source of the projectiles, saying it scored a direct strike against the source of enemy fire.

On 26 April 2015, an Israeli air strike has killed four militants armed with a bomb along the Israeli-Syrian frontier in the Golan Heights, according to Israeli military. Israeli military sources said the militants were spotted placing explosives on a fence near Majdal Shams.

On 23 June 2015, several dozen Druze from the village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights attacked an Israeli military ambulance, evacuating two wounded Syrians from the neutral zone. The attack was reportedly motivated by a rumor that the ambulance evacuates Jihadist fighters from Syria. The attack on the ambulance resulted in beating to death of one of the wounded Syrians, with the other deteriorating into a critical condition; an Israeli officer and a soldier were also wounded in the incident. The attack was reported by the media as a "lynch" by Druze mob, but drew a praise from the Syrian state media, who defined the act as "heroic". In the consequence of the events, Prime Minister of Israel pledged to track down the responsible for the act and bring them to justice. The attack was also condemned by the leader of Israeli Druze, Sheikh Muafak Tarif, who said that an emergency meeting of religious and secular Druze leaders "strongly condemned" the ambulance attack, calling it "a deplorable act committed by outlaws".

On 28 June 2015, rocket alert sirens sounded twice in 30 minutes in northern Golan Heights. The IDF said the sirens were triggered by internal Syrian battles between rebel groups and Assad forces. IDF was checking if rockets landed in Israeli territory.

On 20 August 2015, four rockets struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Upper Galilee. The rocket attack was retaliated with IDF air attacks on Syrian Army warehouses and infrastructure in the Quneitra and Rif Dimashq region of Syria later that day and firing artillery shells at fourteen targets in Syria. Security sources said the Islamic Jihad organization was responsible for the rocket fire, with the financial backing and the direction of Iran. Furthermore, Israel said that Syria was also responsible and "will suffer the consequences". The sites that were targeted by the IDF were Al-Ba’ath, Al-Hamidiyah, Al-Kawm, along with the Brigade 90 Base. After six hours, the IDF resumed their attacks on Ba'athist Syriam forces, targeting the Brigade 68 Base in Khan Al-Sheih (Rif Dimashq Governorate) and the Brigade 90 Base. According to Syrian government and IDF sources, the new round of Israeli airstrikes were more intense than previous attacks. The next morning, the IDF launched an additional airstrike on a vehicle, killing 4-5 allegedly Iran-backed Islamic Jihad militants who were believed to be the perpetrators of the initial attack on Israel. The Syrian government refuted this report, claiming that the attack killed five civilians.

On 26 and 27 September 2015, two rockets hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights without causing any injury or damage. The Israeli military said they hit two Syrian military installations in response.

2016

On the morning of 13 September 2016, Syrian military claimed to have intercepted an Israeli jet near Quneitra and a military drone in the vicinity of Sa'sa' in southern Syria. The online news outlet Al-Masdar Al-'Arabi published a video on the same day, purporting to show an Israeli plane downed by a Syrian rocket, although it is not a clear footage. Israeli Army spokesman denied the report, branding it "total lies". IDF elaborated that it took out Syrian military targets on the Syrian controlled Golan Heights after artillery fire over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but that all the aircraft returned safely.

On 27 November 2016, Israeli forces came under an ambush by ISIS-linked militants in the Golan. In the ensuing firefight and Israeli airstrike, four terrorists were killed while there were no casualties among IDF forces. On November 28th, another Israeli airstrike was carried out against an abandoned United Nations building that was suspected of being used as a base by ISIS militants. The facility was controlled by the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, which is part of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

2017

On 9 February 2017, a mortar shell fired from a tank in Syria exploded in open territory in the Golan Heights along Israel's northern border. The IDF attacked a Syrian army post in retaliation.

Alleged Israeli clashes with Hezbollah and Iranian forces in Syria

On January 2013, An aerial attack in Rif Dimashq Governorate of Syria was made against a convoy, that was believed to be carrying advanced anti-aircraft weaponry from Syria to the Lebanese Shi'a militia Hezbollah. According to several media sources, Israeli forces conducted the strike, however Israel hasn't officially responded to the allegations. The convoy was attacked on January 31, 2013, while parked at a facility of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, Syria's main research center on biological and chemical weapons, at Jamraya, several miles northwest of the Syrian capital of Damascus. In addition to Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, secondary explosions from the attacked munitions also damaged a building of the Scientific Studies and Research Center. Satellite images taken a few days after the attack showed a scorched and blackened parking lot at the center, where the arms convoy was apparently hit. Israel did not officially confirm responsibility for the bombing, but Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that it could have been behind the attack, saying on 3 February, "I cannot add anything to what you've read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago, but I keep telling, frankly, that we've said – and that's another proof that when we say something we mean it – we say that we don't think that it should be allowable to bring advanced weapon systems into Lebanon."

The May 2013 airstrikes were a series of aerial attacks made on targets in Syria on 3 and 5 May 2013. The 3 May attack was on targets at Damascus International Airport. The 5 May attacks were on targets at Jamraya, and the Al-Dimas and Maysalun areas in Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside). Although officially Israel neither confirmed nor denied its involvement, former Mossad director Danny Yatom and former government member Tzachi Hanegbi assumed Israel's role behind the attack. Syrian official sources denied any attack on its soil on May 3, but did accuse Israel over May 5 events.

According to anonymous U.S. officials, Israel was involved in July 2013 Latakia incident. It targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles near the city of Latakia and killed several Syrian troops.

Israel is also suspected to have carried out another raid in Latakia on October 30, 2013. The attack happened at an air defense site in Snawbar, 10 miles south of Latakia.

Syrian opposition sources, as well as Lebanese sources, reported that another strike happened in Latakia on January 26, 2014. The target was S-300 missiles. It was reported that Israeli aircraft carried out two airstrikes against Hezbollah facilities in Lebanon near the border with Syria on February 24, 2014, killing several militants. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the attack targeted a Hezbollah missile base.

In December 2014, Haaretz reported that a series of Israeli airstrikes struck Damascus. The actions involved were a series of aerial attacks made on targets in Syria on 7 December 2014. The targets were a military area of Al-Dimas and the Damascus International Airport area. According to the SOHR, the attack near the Damascus International Airport targeted a depot for newly arrived weapons at a military facility that is part of the airport. The attack at Al-Dimas targeted weapons depots in hangars around a small air base. Ten explosions were heard at Al-Dimas and the Syrian Army stated that some installations were damaged. According to the SOHR, three Hezbollah members were killed by the strikes in Al-Dimas. Syria claimed that an UAV was shot down.

On 18 January 2015, Hezbollah's convoy was attacked in the Syrian-controlled part of Golan Heights, killing six prominent members of Hezbollah and six IRGC members, including Brig. Gen. Muhammad Ali Allahdadi.

It was reported that there were airstrikes against Hezbollah positions in Syria, near the border with Lebanon, in late April 2015.

On 29 July 2015, Israeli airplanes reportedly struck a vehicle located in a Druse village in southwestern Syria, killing Hezbollah men and a pro-Assad militiaman. A second airstrike targeted a military base along the Syrian-Lebanese border belonging to a pro-Syrian Palestinian faction.

According to Syrian media, on 31 October 2015, Israeli aircraft allegedly attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in southern Syria, close to the border with Lebanon in the Qalamoun Mountains region. Estimated targets included a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah. It was reported another Israeli airstrike near Damascus airport on November 11 that targeted Hezbollah weapons warehouses.

The Syrian opposition reported an alleged Israeli airstrike in the Qualamoun area of the Syria-Lebanon border on 23 November 2015. According to these sources, the strike killed 13 Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters and left dozens wounded, including four seriously. The Qualamoun region has been a major transit point for Hezbollah fighters and other logistical equipment to and from Syria. According to Syrian sources, Israeli aircraft attacked again Syrian army and Hezbollah targets in the area around Qalamoun on November 28, causing dead and wounded among Hezbollah fighters.

On 20 December 2015, an explosion in a six-story residential building of Jaramana killed eight Syrian nationals, among them Hezbollah field commanders. Lebanese media at first claimed the building was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, however later denied this and blamed Takfiri militants for the incident. It was reported that Samir Kuntar was among those killed.

Sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition reported that Israeli aircraft attacked seven positions belonging to Hezbollah in the Qalamoun Mountains area on December 26, 2015.

Reactions

 Israel – On 12 November 2012, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "we are closely following the events and will respond accordingly," and that Israel "won't allow its borders to be breached or its citizens to be fired upon."

On 6 January 2013, Netanyahu announced that the Israeli army would be building an improved security fence in the border between the Israeli-occupied and sovereign Syrian zones of the Golan Heights. He stated that the Syrian army had largely "backed off" from the area, leaving it in control of "global jihad operatives" and that the fence would protect Israeli territory from "infiltrations and terror". An Israeli security official stated that around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of the fence had already been completed, with approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) remaining.

 Syria – On 13 November 2012, the Syrian government, through the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), pledged to halt firing toward Israeli territory.

Syrian opposition – Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported that the Free Syrian Army released a statement accusing Israel of attempting to "aid Assad's criminal regime" by firing into Syria.

References

Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents during the Syrian Civil War Wikipedia


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