Syrian tank shell lands in Israeli Golan Heights town

Amid reports that Assad’s forces have left the Syrian side of the Golan, errant fire is first spillover incident since mortars fell over the border in November

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)

A tank shell fired from Syria landed in the Golan community of Alonei Habashan late Wednesday morning, the first such incident since several mortars landed in the Golan in November.

No damage was reported. The shell, believed to be an errant shot from a battle between Syrian government forces and rebels, landed in an open area and did not explode. Sappers later disarmed it.

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“The IDF tracked a shell from the Syrian army to us,” Golan Regional Council deputy head Uri Kellner told a local radio station. “This the third or fourth time this has bled into our area, and it cannot continue.”

On Monday, a pro-Syrian rebel activist in Israel told The Times of Israel that rebel forces now effectively control the Syrian border area, but have refrained from taking the Quneitra border crossing, given the political sensitivities of such a move.

Aiman Abu-Jable, an anti-Assad activist from Majdal Shams who edits the Arabic news website, said that according to information he has received from the Syrian side, Assad’s army has vacated the entire border area with Israel and fled to the Damascus region.

In fact, “the regime wants the rebels to take control of all villages on the border area so that Israel intervenes in the conflict, and then Assad can accuse Israel of conspiring against him,” Abu-Jable said.

Last year, after several incidents of spillover, Israel fired on a Syrian target believed to be the source of several shells that fell on the Golan. It was the first IDF fire into Syrian territory since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

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