IDF Destroyed Syrian Border Outpost in 2020 Operation

Israeli soldiers seen during a drill near the Israeli-Syrian border, in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on Aug. 4, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Israeli forces operated inside Syrian territory in the summer of 2020, Yisrael Hayom reported Sunday, in a secret operation targeting an enemy position near the border with Israel.

IDF censors cleared the incident for publication on Sunday, revealing the operation to the public for the first time.

In July 2020, soldiers from the IDF’s Golani Brigade crossed into Syrian territory under cover of night, in the first Israeli incursion into Syria in years.

The operation targeted a Syrian army outpost that was constructed in March 2020 in the buffer zone that spans the Israeli-Syrian border. The outpost was built 1,200 meters (0.75 miles) from the Israeli border, and was viewed by the IDF as not only a provocation by Syria, but as a serious threat to the safety of Israeli forces near the border.

The buffer zone, which was established after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, is required by the ceasefire agreement to be kept free of military outposts. By establishing a fixed military presence in the buffer zone, the Syrian army violated the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement with Israel, leading the IDF to target the position.

Israel’s top military brass, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, signed off on the operation.

A total of 18 Israeli soldiers took part in the incursion, including Golani Brigade soldiers and a combat demolition team. Additional IDF forces remained inside Israeli territory near the border, prepared to intervene if necessary, with air units on alert to provide air cover.

The IDF demolition squad mined the base of the Syrian outpost, with the entire force of 18 soldiers remaining in Syrian territory until after the outpost was destroyed.