(July 6, 2018 / JNS) The Israel Defense Forces responded to Syrian mortar fire in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria by attacking a Syrian position on Friday.
The army said it would not comment on the nature of the firing from Syria, but said the explosion in the no-man’s-land between the two countries constituted a violation of a 1974 ceasefire agreement following the Yom Kippur War, a deal to which Israel said it would continue to hold Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible.
The safe zone between Israel and Syria has turned into a de facto refuge for residents of southern Syria, who have escaped in the tens of thousands from the Daraa region, which has been under serious attack by Assad in recent weeks.
Those who have made the journey up to the Israeli border in the Golan Heights have cited their belief that Assad and his Russian ally would avoid bombing near the militarily defensive Jewish state. Many of the encampments are just a few hundred meters from Israel’s security fence.
The Walla news site reported that Israel has been working with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force operating in the no-man’s-land in order to maintain safe spaces for the displaced persons.
In the past, Syrian refugees fled to Jordan, but Syria’s neighbor has informed new arrivals that it will not be accepting additional refugees, given that it’s currently harboring upwards of a million Syrians in the country, both registered refugees and hundreds of thousands of unregistered refugees.
Israel has treated approximately 4,800 sick and injured Syrians since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, but said it would not accept Syrian refugees inside the country.