Will terrorists follow rebels to border?
Heightened state of alert on Israel-Syria border to continue after bullet hits IDF jeep. IDF concerned terrorist cells will take advantage of chaos to turn border into northern version of Sinai.
The bullet which hit an Israeli regiment commander's jeep on the border fence in the Golan Heights on Monday serves as another reminder of the explosive situation on the Israel-Syria border.
Syrian rebels are approaching the border fence while battling President Bashar Assad's army, assuming that Syrian soldiers will refrain from firing toward the Golan Heights.
Despite the firing incident, the Israel Defense Forces is mostly concerned that the Syrian army will lose control and that terrorist cells will take advantage of the situation to carry out terror attacks in the area.
The Gaash Division, which is in charge of the Golan Heights area, held a special evaluation of the situation on Monday following the unusual incident, although IDF sources stressed that the firing was not intentional but part of the war taking place on the Syrian side.
According to Arab reports, two Syrians were killed in the village of Beer Ajam in an area considered demilitarized.
The incident followed a similar one that took place on Saturday, when three Syrian tanks, in pursuit of rebel forces, entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights, near the Israel- Syria border. The IDF filed an official complaint with UNIFIL and raised the level of alert in the area.
The IDF has no plans to take an active role or intervene in the internal conflict in Syria and practice maximum restraint. The heightened state of alert in the area will continue in the coming days as it is quite possible that the battles will spread to additional villages.
Despite the tensions over the stray bullet, the greater concern is that global terror cells will flock to the border, taking advantage of the Assad regime's weakness in order to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers or citizens.
As reported by Syrian television, Assad's army is reinforcing its forces in the Syrian Golan Heights.
In the meantime, the IDF is moving on with wide-scale engineering works aimed at fortifying the border, similarly to the fence being built on Israel's border with Egypt. The old fence is being replaced with a new, tall one.
At the same time, an innovative and advanced alert network is being deployed in the area to warn the army every time someone approaches the border, and sensors are being deployed along the border as part of a multi-sensor intelligence and surveillance system, considered the most advanced radar system owned by the IDF.
The new system will dramatically improve IDF forces' ability to collect information. As of the coming weeks, soldiers will be able to spot any suspicious movement along the border and inside Syria, day and night.