UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council strongly condemned the recent intense fighting between the Syrian government and opposition forces in the Golan Heights and demanded an end to all military activity in the area that has separated Syrian and Israeli forces since 1974.
A resolution unanimously adopted by the council Wednesday echoed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s finding that ongoing military activities in the area of separation “have the potential to escalate tensions” between Israel and Syria, jeopardize the cease-fire between the two countries and pose a risk to civilians and UN personnel.
The resolution extends the UN mission monitoring the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire until December 31.
Early Monday morning, Israeli jets struck nine Syrian military targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights — reportedly killing 10 soldiers — in response to a cross-border attack on Sunday on a civilian car which claimed the life of 15-year-old Mohammed Karaka, and wounded three others including the boy’s father, a civilian contractor from the town of Arraba in the Lower Galillee.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group 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.
After the air raids, 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 civilian car carrying Karaka and the others 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 initially, Israeli tanks fired at Syrian army positions.
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.