The Israeli military is operating in the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria, to prevent an influx of Syrian refugees, the IDF confirmed Thursday.
Al Jazeera had earlier published images of IDF bulldozers in the border area and said the IDF is preparing for the possibility of refugee influxes and illegal border crossings.
On Monday, President Shimon Peres said that any forceful attempts by Syrians to cross Israel’s border would be met with force. Attempts to cross the border peacefully but illegally, he said, would be stopped with civilian means, “the way any country defended her border.”
Until now, he added, no Syrians fleeing from President Bashar Assad’s forces have requested asylum, “and I don’t anticipate that anyone will.”
On Nakba Day in May 2011, hundreds of Syrian nationals flooded across the border and paraded through the Israeli town of Majdal Shams. Fencing was later raised, trenches dug deeper, and other precautions and strategies put in place.
Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this report.