TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Israel keeps watch as Syrian rebels control frontier areas

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:24 p.m.
 

JERUSALEM — Syrian rebels control almost all of the villages near the frontier with the Israel-held Golan Heights, the Israeli defense minister said on Wednesday, bringing the conflict dangerously close to the Jewish state and raising the possibility of an armed clash with the region's strongest power.

During a tour of the Golan Heights, Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave a scathing assessment of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces and said Israel will remain “vigilant and alert.”

“Almost all of the villages, from the foot of this ridge to the very top, are already in the hands of the Syrian rebels,” said Barak, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The Syrian army is displaying ever-diminishing efficiency.”

The civil war in Syria has renewed tensions over the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in 1967. Despite hostility between the two countries, Syria has been careful to keep the border quiet since the 1973 Mideast war.

But in recent days, Israeli troops have fired into Syria twice after apparently stray mortar shells flew into Israel-held territory. On Wednesday, an Associated Press journalist said an Israeli helicopter was patrolling the border area, and gunfire could be heard. The source of the gunfire was not immediately clear.

While it is widely believed that Assad does not want to pick a fight with Israel, there are fears the embattled Syrian leader may try to draw Israel into the fighting in a bout of desperation.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
  2. Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
  3. Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
  4. Strip District, Shadyside startups headed to White House
  5. Obama’s Clean Power plan doesn’t change much; opponents remain firm
  6. Big-game hunting means navigating Third World country political systems
  7. Doctors to be given star ratings on UPMC site
  8. Technology helps VA Pittsburgh expand ability to serve veterans
  9. Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
  10. WVU to intensify workload amid shorter training camp
  11. Members of North Huntingdon family attacked by rabid otter in Va.