Syrian rebels capture town on Israeli border

Syrian rebels capture town on Israeli border

Rawyahina situated a mile from IDF emplacements; 131 killed across Syria on Saturday

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

The town of Bir Ajam, next to Rawyahina on the Syrian border with Israel. (photo credit: Public Domain كهيعص, Wikimedia Commons)
The town of Bir Ajam, next to Rawyahina on the Syrian border with Israel. (photo credit: Public Domain كهيعص, Wikimedia Commons)

Free Syrian Army forces captured the town of Rawyahina, situated a mile from Israeli troops in the Golan Heights, Al Arabiya reported Saturday citing Syrian opposition sources.

The rebel-controlled Syrian media center reported that opposition forces had captured two army checkpoints around the city as well as military equipment.

The Local Coordination Committees reported 131 Syrians killed on Saturday.

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Israel’s border with Syria has been largely quiet since the 1973 war, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday there was now a danger of that changing. He spoke of hearing the machine-gun fire and seeing conflict unfolding just across the border when he visited the area on Thursday.

Israel raised its military alert on the northern border over the weekend, and cancelled some weekend furloughs, amid fears that the situation in neighboring Syria is rapidly spiraling out of control.

Touring the border area on Thursday, Barak found himself within earshot of mortar shells fired between the Syrian Army and rebel forces, which landed just a few hundred yards away, and he and senior Israeli army officers watched clouds of smoke rising from conflict zones that were being shelled.

In interviews Friday, Barak spoke about the danger of President Bashar Assad’s weaponry falling into Hezbollah’s hands in Lebanon. He said Israel was watching out for “the possible transfer of advanced weapons systems, mainly anti-aircraft missiles or heavy ground-to-ground missiles, but there could also be a transfer of chemical capabilities from Syria to Lebanon.”

Israel, he indicated, was preparing options to ensure Syrian weapons did not reach the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia.

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