Israel beefing up border with Syria, may look to Jordan frontier next

New barrier will include reconnaissance equipment and quick response units

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
The Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Spurred on by fears of Syria’s civil war spilling into the Golan Heights, Israel is ramping up works to improve the border fence between the two countries, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Israel may also look to improve the long border fence with Jordan, should there be money for such an endeavor, said Bezalel Treiber, the head of Operations, Logistics and Property at the Defense Ministry.

On Wednesday, Israel announced it had completed the main section of a fence along the border with Egypt aimed at preventing the entry of migrants, terrorists, and smugglers.

That fence, comprising 45,000 tons of building material, took two and a half years to build at an estimated cost of NIS 1.4 billion ($377 million) and employed more than 100 contractors and 1,000 workers.

New security measures along the border with Syria will include dozens of kilometers of new fence, anti-personnel trenches, new reconnaissance equipment, quick response units and a new early warning system.

Treiber said lessons learned building the Egypt border fence were being applied on the northern frontier.

Work on the new 56-kilometer security barrier with Syria began a few months ago and was prompted by concerns over the bitter civil war raging on the other side of the fence.

With the current Syrian regime maintaining a precarious grip on power in the country, Israel is preparing for the possible downfall of President Bashar Assad and a takeover by increasingly sectarian rebel groups that include extremist Islamic elements.

Battles between the Syrian army and rebel forces are sometimes fought close to the border. On several occasions in the past mortar bombs and stray rounds have struck inside Israel.

In November 2012 the Israel Defense Forces fired an anti-tank rocket into Syria as a warning to the a Syrian army after a mortar bomb landed in Israel.

The border with Jordan, which is marked by the Jordan River for much of its 335-kilometer distance (including the West Bank), is less of a security concern for Israel.

Jerusalem has enjoyed peace with Jordan since 1994 and attacks from Jordan into Israel are extremely rare.

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