(JNS.org) The Israel Defense Forces has declared a portion of northeast Golan Heights a closed military zone amid intensifying fighting between the Syrian government and rebels in the area.
The announcement means that only residents of the area will be allowed to travel to the region. According to the Jerusalem Post, the closure is designed to prevent large gatherings of civilians in the area that could potentially disrupt IDF activities.
In a statement, the IDF said it came to the decision “following the fighting in Syria from up close, as well as developments on the border of the Golan Heights, and acting to safeguard security in the area.”
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said before a Knesset hearing on Tuesday that he believes Syria is disintegrating. He expressed concern about the fighting near the Israeli border, adding that the IDF would provide humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing the violence.
Millions of refugees have fled from the civil war violence in Syria over the past few years, with most going to Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. The IDF has treated injured Syrians along the border with Syria in the Golan Heights. Israel recently pledged pledged $2.6 million for arms purchases to Syria’s Druze community, which has strong ties with the Israeli Druze community, especially in the Golan Heights.