At least 10 Syrian soldiers were killed in Israeli overnight air raids on positions near the Israeli-held Golan Heights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Monday.
“At least 10 Syrian soldiers were killed in Israeli raids against military positions next to the occupied part of the Golan. Nine missiles were fired by aircraft and at least two tanks and two artillery batteries were destroyed,” the Observatory said.
The air raids came in retaliation for an attack on a car in the Golan Heights Sunday morning that killed a 15-year-old Israeli boy, Mohammed Karkara, and wounded three others.
The Britain-based monitor said that the main target of the Israeli warplanes was the headquarters of Brigade 90, a unit deployed on the Golan, but other positions were also targeted.
On Monday morning, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that Israel held him responsible for areas under his control and would respond “aggressively and harshly against any provocation and violation of our sovereignty.”
However, a senior military official also noted that Israel had no interest in military escalation along its northern borders, as the IDF was focused on an operation in the West Bank aimed at finding three kidnapped Israeli youths and weakening Hamas, which Israel holds responsible for the abduction.
Military officials said the car was hit by anti-tank fire from an area under the control of Assad regime forces, though one rebel commander told The Times of Israel it was possible the regime had targeted the car with a heat-seeking missile. In response, Israeli tanks fired at Syrian army positions.
Karkara’s father, a civilian contractor from the town of Arraba in the Lower Galillee, and two others were injured.
Israel has responded in the past to cross-border fire with targeted strikes on Syrian positions, and planes have reportedly also hit Syrian missile shipments deep inside the war-torn country, though Israel has never confirmed those strikes.
Three weeks ago, IDF forces fired artillery shells at a target in Syria after a mortar shell fired from the war-torn country hit Mount Hermon.
The Israel-Syria border region has seen intermittent exchanges of fire throughout the war in Syria. Although Israel has largely attributed these incidents to stray fire from clashes in Syria, there have been attempts to target Israeli soldiers.