Forces loyal to the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad took control of an abandoned UN post in the no-man’s land between the Israeli and Syrian areas of the Golan Heights, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Sunday.
The post, abandoned by United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) troops on the Golan, is meant to be free of both Israeli and Syrian troops, according to the cessation of hostilities agreement between the two countries that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
According to the report, UNDOF has identified ongoing infrastructure work at the site.
The IDF said in a statement that it was “aware of what is taking place, and views [the takeover of the site and] the infrastructure work at the post as a serious and flagrant violation of the separation-of-forces agreement.”
The IDF statement suggested Israel might act to remove the forces from the post by force. Officials told Kan that Israel “sees UNDOF as responsible for tracking and acting against military forces in the separation zone, and is determined to prevent military entrenchment in that area.”
The televised Kan report showed footage of the post.
כוחות המזוהים עם משטר אסד השתלטו על עמדת או"ם נטושה באזור החיץ סמוך לגבול. בצה"ל רואים את הדבר בחומרה, ומדגישים את הנחישות למנוע התבססות צבאית באזור. הדיווח של כתבתנו המדינית @gilicohen10 ב-#חדשותהערב pic.twitter.com/EjVJ6NkjDQ
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) June 24, 2018
The report came just hours after an Israeli Patriot missile was fired at a drone that approached from Syria toward Israel’s airspace. Israeli officials believe the drone belonged to regime forces.
According to Hebrew-language reports, the IDF is bracing for an uptick in fighting in Syrian areas adjacent to the Israeli border, and expects incidents of stray fire to enter Israeli territory.
As fighting between the main factions in the Syrian civil war threatened to overwhelm UNDOF positions, the UN troops left the demilitarized buffer zone for Israel in 2014.