For first time since 2011, Syrian regime reaches border with Israel
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For first time since 2011, Syrian regime reaches border with Israel

Assad’s forces capture positions along frontier after routing opposition and Islamic State fighters, state media says

Smoke rises from Quneitra, at the Syrian side of the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights, on July 22, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Smoke rises from Quneitra, at the Syrian side of the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights, on July 22, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Syrian state media said Tuesday that government forces have reached the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights after capturing territory from rebels and Islamic State fighters.

Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast footage from the fence demarcating the UN buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli forces inside the Golan Heights.

The camera showed an Israeli observation post 400 meters (440 yards) away.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967. The UN deployed a peacekeeping force between the two sides in 1974. Israel annexed the strategic territory in 1981.

It is the first time government forces have taken up positions along the frontier since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad swept through the country in 2011. Islamic State fighters later seized territory from rebels along the frontier region.

The development came as Israel on Tuesday shot down an Syrian air force jet that strayed into Israeli territory. Israel stressed that it will continue to enforce a separation of forces agreement, which requires Syria to abide by a demilitarized zone between the two countries.

Recent media reports have said that Israel and Syria, along with the US and Russia, are interested in restoring the situation on the Golan Heights to the terms of the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement to define the no-man’s land, demilitarized zones and deployment of Israeli and Syrian forces on both sides of the border.

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