Syria fighting could endanger truce with Israel, UN warns
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Syria fighting could endanger truce with Israel, UN warns

World body calls on Assad's forces, rebel fighters to avoid combat on border which could spill over to Jewish state

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad)

The UN Security Council on Tuesday condemned the fighting and use of heavy weapons by Syrian armed forces and opposition fighters in the area that has separated Syrian and Israel forces since 1974.

A resolution co-sponsored by Russia and the United States and adopted unanimously by the council on Monday called on parties to the Syrian conflict to halt all military action in the area of separation. It warned that military activities in the zone could escalate Syrian-Israeli tensions.

The resolution extended the mandate of the 750-strong peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights until December 31.

For nearly four decades UN monitors from the force have helped enforce a stable truce between Israel and Syria. But the Golan Heights has increasingly become a battlefield in the Syrian conflict, now in its fifth year.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday that Israel has been providing aid to Syrian rebels, thus keeping the Druze in Syria out of immediate danger. Israeli officials have previously balked at confirming on the record that the country has been helping forces that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting at PM Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on February 08, 2015. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting at PM Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on February 08, 2015. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

During a briefing with Israel’s diplomatic correspondents at the IDF’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said that Israel’s ongoing humanitarian assistance to Syrian rebel fighters, a source of growing conflict between Israel and its own Druze population, safeguards the minority population in Syria.

“We’ve assisted them under two conditions,” Ya’alon said of the Israeli medical aid to the Syrian rebels. “That they don’t get too close to the border, and that they don’t touch the Druze.”

Israel has treated over 1,000 wounded Syrians in its hospitals since the onset of the civil war in 2011.

“Our general policy is that we’re not getting involved in the Syrian war,” he stressed, although there were certain red lines Israel would act to maintain, such as the smuggling of so-called game-changing weapons to Israel’s enemies.

”We will not tolerate any violation of our sovereignty or even accidental fire from Syria into our territory. We will act immediately to strike at those who plant explosives near the border or fire at us,” he declared.

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