Israeli Druze Break Through Border Fence as IDF Pledges to Assist Syrian Village Against Rebels

View of the fence separating northern Israel from Syria and Jordan, in the Golan Heights. (Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

Hundreds of Druze in the Syrian village of Khader on the Golan Heights successfully beat back Syrians that had attempted to take the village, which lies right on the border with Israel. They were assisted by units of the Syrian army. Israeli Druze attempted to help as well, as they broke through the border fence in an attempt to help their compatriots in the battle. In a statement, the IDF said that the situation along the border and in Khader was “under control.”

The IDF said that it viewed the entry into Syria as a “serious security violation,” and that soldiers had entered Syria in order to bring the Israeli Druze back. “The residents broke through the security fence and entered a portion of Khader that is inside Israeli territory,” the IDF said in a statement. “Soldiers passed through the fence as well and chased the residents down, bringing them back to Israel. This was a serious violation of security protocol, and we ask that everyone stay away from the security fence. The situation is now under control.”

The Israeli Druze who broke through the fence did so in response to a major battle that was transpiring throughout Friday morning in Khader, where earlier nine people had been killed and 23 injured when a car bomb exploded. That terror act proved to be the opening for a gunbattle between Khader residents and Syrian army troops, and Syrian rebel groups from the Nusra front Jihadist terrorist rebel group in the long-running Syrian civil war. One Israeli Druze was injured when gunfire crossed the border fence, hitting a protester who had gathered near the border with hundreds of other Druze to show solidarity with residents of Khader. Reports Friday afternoon said that the rebel groups had been beaten back and had retreated out of the village.

In an unusual statement earlier Friday, the IDF said that it “was prepared to assist residents of Khader to prevent occupation” by the rebel groups, “as part of our commitment to the Druze population. Accusations that Israel is assisting these Jihadist rebel groups is unfounded.” Israeli media reported that Meir Ben-Shabbat, a top security official in the government, had informed Druze leaders that Israel would not allow the rebel groups to take over the village. In a statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “we are constantly watching our borders, both north and south, in order to ensure security. And we also seek to protect our Druze brothers.”