Syrian media denied on Monday that Israel fired toward its territory on Sunday, in an incident widely cited by Arab media as the first cross-border military skirmish between Israel and Syria since 1973.
Residents of Bir Ajam, a Syrian village near the border with Israel, told the regime daily Al-Watan that they did not notice any Israeli mortar shells fired at their region, but they did hear light artillery shot from Israel.
The daily reported that the Syrian army is besieging opposition men in a forest located between the villages of Bir Ajam and Qahtaniyeh. On Sunday, it added, another armed gang arriving from the village of Jubata Al-Khashab, on the eastern slopes of mount Hermon, and tried to provide reinforcements to the besieged men, but “suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Arab Syrian army.”
The IDF reported firing an anti-tank Tamuz missile as a warning shot toward Syrian forces Sunday afternoon, after a mortar shell fired from Syria reportedly landed on an unmanned army post in the eastern Golan Heights.
“We have no interest in getting in between the rebels and the Syrian army, but to defend the Golan Heights from stray fire,” IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai told Israeli media following the incident.
An editorial in Saudi daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat November 7 claimed that Assad was intentionally striking Israel as an act of desperation after failing to involve Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey in the domestic violence. But official Syria’s downplaying of the incident would seem to indicate otherwise.