An IDF patrol in the Golan Heights came under artillery and small arms fire Friday from Syrian forces. No injuries were reported, but damage was inflicted to an IDF vehicle, according to an Israel Radio report. The IDF Spokesperson reported that no damage was reported.
The army dispatched helicopters to the area, near Kibbutz El Rum in the northern Golan Heights, and IDF forces stationed along the border returned fire at the Syrian army post with a Tammuz missile and tank fire. The IDF confirmed a direct hit. Israeli authorities notified the United Nations of the incident.
Friday’s incident occurred around the same time as fierce fighting between the Syrian army and rebel forces near the village of Juba, opposite El Rom on the ceasefire line with Israel. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported heavy artillery fire and clashes between Syrian army and rebel forces near the village and artillery fire targeting a village in the demilitarized zone separating Syria and Israel.
Israeli forces and residents have come under fire numerous times since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war two years ago. Earlier this month the IDF returned fire at an Syrian army post after small arms fire from Syria struck Israel. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said at the time that cross-border fire from Syria would be returned in kind.
Incidents of cross-border fire have been regarded by Israel as an unintentional spillover from the civil war rather than a deliberate effort to draw Israel into conflict. Nonetheless, Ya’alon and IDF Chief of the General Staff Benny Gantz have said repeatedly that Israel will shoot back at the sources of such fire and do whatever is necessary to protect Israel and its citizens.
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces launched a counteroffensive in southern Syria on Thursday, large portions of which had recently fallen to rebels, including the area bordering Israel.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 30 Syrians were killed in Friday’s fighting between Assad’s troops and the rebels.