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Israeli tanks said to fire into Syria, wounding shepherds who approached border

Local media says two hurt in shelling near Hameidiyyeh, close to border on Golan Heights; IDF said to drop flyers after strike, warning Syrian army against working with Hezbollah

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

An IDF tank at a military outpost overlooking Syria near the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, May 23, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
An IDF tank at a military outpost overlooking Syria near the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, May 23, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Two people were hurt after an Israeli tank opened fire across the Syrian border on the Golan Heights, Syrian media reported Friday.

According to Syria’s Sham FM radio station, the Israeli tank fired near the town of Hameidiyyeh, injuring two people the station identified as civilians.

The local Daraa Today news outlet claimed the two wounded people were shepherds who approached the demilitarized zone along the border.

Syria’s state broadcaster SANA later issued a statement with similar details, saying the tank fired three shells at the town. It did not say if a specific site was targeted or damaged.

According to SANA, the two were taken to a nearby hospital, where their conditions were described as stable.

A pro-opposition Syrian source in the Golan Heights said the pair were affiliated with Hezbollah. The claim could not be independently verified.

Following the incident, Israeli aircraft dropped flyers near the border warning Syrian soldiers against working with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, Syria’s pro-opposition Houran Radio reported.

The flyers, which were written in Arabic and addressed to two Syrian Arab Army commanders “Ibrahim Khalifa and Ali Mahmoud,” matched the style of similar leaflets that have been dropped in Syria in the past and included the silhouette of an eagle — the symbol of the IDF’s 210th Bashan Division, which is tasked with defending Israel’s frontier with Syria and the Golan Heights.

“Continuing to transfer intelligence to Hezbollah on a regular basis indicates the extent of your submission to Hezbollah, at the expense of the Syrian army and its soldiers. Any direct or indirect involvement of Hezbollah will result in harsh measures being taken,” the flyer read.

The flyer also included images of Syrian military sites on the border allegedly used by Hezbollah.

The Israel Defense Forces refused to comment, in line with its longstanding policy of not officially acknowledging specific strikes in Syria, save for those in retaliation for attacks against Israel.

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.

Israel has also 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, one of the Syrian government’s key allies in the decade-old civil war, from gaining a permanent military foothold on its doorstep.

Much of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau, was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed.

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