Rebel group won’t fight Israel if it enters Syria
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Rebel group won’t fight Israel if it enters Syria

‘We’ll leave the fighting to Hezbollah and Bashar Assad’s men,’ says spokesman

Smoke rises from a fire that resulted from fighting in the Syrian village of Quneitra, near the border with Israel, on June 6, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Sebastian Scheiner)
Smoke rises from a fire that resulted from fighting in the Syrian village of Quneitra, near the border with Israel, on June 6, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

A rebel group that operates on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights stated Thursday that it would not fight Israel if Israel sends forces into Syria. A spokesman for the rebel group, which is based in Quneitra, made the comments to Al-Jazeera.

“We’ll leave the fighting to Hezbollah and to [Syrian President] Bashar Assad’s men,” said Abu Jafar. “We won’t fight Israel.”

Israel has said repeatedly that it has no desire to intervene in the Syrian civil war.

Hezbollah, which has taken an increasing active role in defending Syrian President Bashar Assad, threatened recently to open up a new front against Israel in the Golan Heights. Also, in comments attributed to Assad in a Lebanese daily last week, the embattled Syrian leader allegedly said that opening a new front against Israel in the Golan could serve to unify his people.

Amid the rhetoric, a mortar shell fired from Syria landed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights early Thursday morning. There were no reports of injuries or damage from the rocket, which landed just over the border, according to Army Radio.

Mortar shells have struck Israel several times over the past year as fighting in the Syrian civil war has spilled over into Israel, though they largely tailed off during June. The rockets and small arms fire are usually assumed to be errant strikes, but Damascus recently boasted that it had retaliated against Israel for reported air strikes against Damascus weapons sites.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has vowed to respond to spillover of the Syrian civil war into Israel, and the IDF has shot at Syrian army positions in the past after incidents of cross-border fire.

Joshua Davidovich and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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