Defense Minister Ehud Barak unwittingly sparked off a new tourism trend during a visit to the Golan Heights when he was seen keenly watching events in Syria.

Dozens of Israelis are gathering daily at vantage points on the Golan from where they can hear, and occasionally see, the raging battles between the Syrian army and rebel forces, Maariv reported on Tuesday.

Tour group operators have even reported that they now add the Syrian unrest to the agenda of tours that visit the area.

Last Thursday, Barak toured IDF positions on the Golan, and TV stations broadcast images of the minister watching the shelling of Jobata Al Khashab across the border in Syria.

In the days that have followed, a steadily increasing stream of Israelis armed with binoculars and cameras are flocking to the border with Syria in the hope of catching sight of the civil war. While line of sight to battles is not always possible, the exchanges of fire are often quite audible.

A police source told Maariv that the force is doing its best to keep sight-seers away from sensitive army installations along the border.