Firefight Breaks Out Between IDF, Syrian Forces; No Injuries

The Kuneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria. (IDF Spokesman)

A firefight broke out overnight Wednesday on the Syrian border, the IDF said in a statement Thursday. Forces from across the Syrian border opened fired on an IDF patrol that was operating near the border. Israeli soldiers returned fire. There were no injuries on the Israeli side. The IDF did not specify where along the border the incident took place.

This latest incident came just days after extensive Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria which were prompted by an Iranian rocket attack on the Hermon ski resort on Sunday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Wednesday that Israel’s “policy is clear and it will not change: We are determined to prevent Iran from militarily entrenching itself in Syria against Israel.”

Earlier this week, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nation, Bashar Ja’afari, suggested before the Security Council that Damascus was considering attacking Israel in retaliation for an Israeli raid Sunday, when IDF missiles slammed targets in Syria where Iran has been operating, destroying weapons warehouses and other assets used by Iran. Among the targets was a section of Damascus Airport. “Isn’t it high time for this council to take the necessary measures to stop the repeated Israeli aggression against the territories of my country?” Bashari asked. “Or should we attract the attention of the war makers in this council, by exercising our legitimate right to self-defense and respond to the Israeli aggression against the Damascus International Civil Airport by launching an aggression against the Tel Aviv airport?”

At a press conference Monday, IDF spokesperson Ronen Manelis said that Israel’s extensive raid in Syria was in response to the missile fired at the Golan Heights. “The missile fired Sunday afternoon could have harmed civilians,” Manelis said. “The missile was fired from the Damascus area, and it was an Iranian missile fired by Iranian personnel from an area that Israel was promised Iran would not operate in,” he said, referring to discussions Netanyahu had with international leaders in recent months, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Syrian regime, he said, “is taking a huge chance when it allows the Iranians to use its civilian airports. Some of the targets we hit were in Syrian army bases, which the Syrians allow the Iranians to use. They are endangering themselves and as such are paying a high price. Iran is using Syria and the Syrians are paying the price,” he added.