Israeli tanks fire warning shots at suspects in southern Syria

IDF says troops identified individuals manning posts while operating near border fence in central Golan Heights; unverified report claims targets tied to Iran

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Illustrative: An IDF tank is seen in the Golan Heights on January 20, 2015. (Basal Awidat/Flash90)
Illustrative: An IDF tank is seen in the Golan Heights on January 20, 2015. (Basal Awidat/Flash90)

Israeli tanks opened fire toward a number of suspects in military posts near the border with Syria on Wednesday evening, the military said.

During a military operation across the border fence in the central Golan Heights, but still within Israeli territory, troops identified a number of suspects near where the forces were operating, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The army said the suspects were seen manning “military posts,” without elaborating.

The forces fired flares and warning shots, which caused the suspects to flee the area, the IDF added.

According to Syria’s Sham FM radio station, a number of sites in the village of al-Hurriyah in the Quneitra region were struck by IDF tanks.

The station, as well as the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV, said Israeli helicopters and other aircraft hovered overhead during the strikes.

There were no reports of casualties in the incident, on either side.

A Syrian journalist from the area claimed the sites belonged to Iran or Iran-backed groups. This could not be independently verified.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria in recent years, mostly targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces as well as Syrian government troops. The military has said it hit dozens of targets in 2021.

Israel has also reportedly carried out several strikes along the border targeting Hezbollah and Iranian efforts to entrench themselves in the country.

Israel says it is trying to prevent Iran, which has been one of the Syrian government’s key allies in the decade-old civil war, from gaining a permanent military foothold on its doorstep.

The Golan Heights, a strategic plateau, was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.

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