Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents during the Syrian Civil War

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Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents during the Syrian Civil War
Part of the Quneitra Governorate clashes (2012–14) and spillover of the Syrian Civil War
Golan heights border.jpg
Ceasefire line between Syrian-controlled territory and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights in 2004. The white buildings to the right belong to UN peacekeepers. For a war map of the current situation in Quneitra, see here.
Date 11 November 2012 – ongoing
(4 years, 7 months, 1 week and 4 days)
Location Ceasefire line areas between Israel-occupied territory and Syrian-controlled territory and the demilitarized zone of the Golan Heights.
Status Increased tensions between the two countries
Belligerents
 Israel  Syria
InfoboxHez.PNG Hezbollah
Flag of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.svg PIJ
Supported by:
 Iran

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL

Casualties and losses
Israel 14 soldiers wounded[2][3][4][5]
1 drone crashed[6]
2 Jet & 1 drone shot down (Syrian claim)[7][8][9]
Syria+21 soldiers killed
7 soldiers injured[10][11][12][13]
4 pro-Syrian militia killed[14]
1 Su-24 shot down.[15]
1 drone shot down (Israeli claim)[16]
InfoboxHez.PNG 6 militants killed[17]
Flag of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.svg 4–5 militants killed[18]
Iran 1 general killed[19]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant 4 killed [20]

Israel 1 Israeli civilian killed and three injured[21][22]

Syria 8 Syrian civilians killed[12]
2 unidentified militants killed on Syrian-controlled side[23]

Several incidents have taken place on the Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line during the Syrian Civil War, straining the relations between the countries. The incidents are considered a spillover of the Quneitra Governorate clashes since 2012 and later incidents between Syrian Army and the rebels, ongoing on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan and the Golan Neutral Zone and the Hezbollah involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Through the incidents, which began in late 2012, as of mid-2014, one Israeli civilian was killed and at least 4 soldiers wounded; on the Syrian-controlled side, it is estimated that at least ten soldiers were killed, as well as two unidentified militants, who were identified near Ein Zivan on Golan Heights.[23]

Timeline

2012

On 11 November 2012, a stray mortar shell fired from Syria's Quneitra Governorate landed near an Israeli military outpost in the Golan Heights. Israel responded with a "warning shot" and released a statement warning further retaliation if the attacks persist.[24]

On 17 November 2012, Syrian Army fire hit an IDF patrol near the DMZ, damaging one jeep; no injuries were reported. Israeli artillery responded by shelling the Syrian army position; the Syrian army responded with additional mortars.[25] Israel confirmed a direct hit on the source of fire and said that Syrian soldiers may have been killed by the incident.[26]

On 25 November 2012, clashes between rebels and the Syrian army resulted in stray bullets striking near an IDF vehicle driving along the DMZ. No injuries or damage were reported, and Israel did not retaliate.[27]

2013

On 24 March 2013, the IDF fired a guided missile at a Syrian machine gun nest after Israeli troops were shot at twice in the Golan Heights. No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the shooting, though IDF vehicles were hit.[28]

On 21 May 2013 an Israeli vehicle was hit by Syrian fire on the Golan Heights. Israeli fire destroyed the source of the attack.[29]

On 17 July 2013, an Israeli army force on a routine patrol along the ceasefire line came under fire and shot back at a group of unidentified suspects on the frontier. There were no injuries among IDF soldiers.[30]

On 17 August 2013, after several Syrian mortar shells exploded in the Golan Heights, the IDF fired a guided missile at a Syrian army post.[31]

2014

On 1 March 2014, two rockets were fired at an Israeli post on Mount Hermon, in what is reportedly retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah target near the Lebanese-Syrian border.[32]

On 18 March 2014, an explosive device was detonated close to an Israeli jeep near the Syrian border. One soldier was seriously wounded. Another three soldiers sustained light-to-moderate injuries. An IDF 155mm artillery battery returned fire, firing several shells at a Syrian outpost.[33] Israel further responded by carrying out multiple airstrikes against Syrian targets, including a military headquarters, artillery batteries and a Syrian army training base.[34] The Syrian army reported that the Israeli airstrikes killed one Syrian soldier and wounded seven.[35] This occurred a few days after a similar incident on the Israeli-Lebanese border when another explosive device targeted an Israeli jeep and Israel responded with artillery and tank fire towards Lebanon. Israel blamed Hezbollah for both incidents.

On 28 March 2014, Israeli soldiers opened fire on two gunmen attempting to sabotage the border fence with Syria on the Golan Heights. The IDF said both armed suspects were struck by gunfire.[36]

On 2 June 2014, after Syrian shells flew in the direction of Israeli military posts on Mount Hermon, the IDF responded with artillery salvos toward the sources of fire in Syria. There were no injuries or damages on the Israeli side.[37]

On 4 June 2014, two mortar shells were fired from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan. The Iron Dome missile defense system was activated for the first time in northern Israel to intercept the two shells. At least two intercepting missiles were fired towards the Syrian ceasefire line, but were "called off" in-flight by the Iron Dome's operators when it became clear the shells were going to fall in open fields. The falling shells caused fires in several spots in the area, but firefighters called to the scene and put out the fires.[38]

On 22 June 2014, an anti-tank missile was fired across the border from Syria at a water truck moving along the border fence. A 14-year-old boy, the son of the contractor driving the truck, was killed and 3 other Israeli civilians were injured from the blast.[21]

On 23 June 2014, the Israeli military launched several airstrikes targeting Syrian troops in retaliation for the attack on the previous day. At least ten Syrian soldiers were killed during the strikes.[11]

On 7 July 2014, a mortar shell launched from Syria hit the Golan Heights, causing no injuries or damage. IDF responded by firing at suspicious positions on the Syrian side of the border.[39]

On 13 July 2014, a rocket landed in an open area of the Golan Heights. No injuries or damage were reported. The IDF reported that the rocket was deliberately fired from Syria at Israel.[40]

On 15 July 2014, after a rocket hit the Golan Heights, Israeli warplanes struck three targets, killing 18 Syrians, including eight civilians and ten soldiers.[41]

On 24 August 2014, five rockets from Syria landed across the border with Israel in the Golan Heights. The rockets landed in open areas and no injuries were reported.[42]

On 27 August 2014, three errant mortar shells fired from Syria hit the Golan Heights, wounding an Israeli officer and causing damage to a pair of vehicles. The IDF responded with artillery fire against a Syrian army post.[4] An Israeli civilian was lightly injured after a mortar fell in northern Golan.[22]

On 31 August 2014, the IDF shot down a drone that entered Israeli air space from the Quneitra region in Syria. Army sources said the drone likely belonged to the military of the Assad regime, and strayed into Israeli airspace by accident.[16]

On 4 September 2014, the IDF fired a missile at a Syrian army post in retaliation for stray rocket fire that exploded earlier in the day on the Golan Heights.[43]

On 8 September 2014, an IDF soldier was lightly injured in the Golan by a stray bullet.[44]

On 23 September 2014, Israel shot down an errant Syrian jet fighter that had strayed over the Golan Heights.[15]

2015

On 27 January 2015, two projectiles fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights without causing injuries or damage. The IDF returned artillery fire toward the source of the projectiles, claiming direct hits.[45]

On 26 April 2015, according to Israeli military, an Israeli air strike killed four militants armed with a bomb along the Israeli-Syrian frontier in the Golan Heights.[14] Israeli military sources said the militants were spotted placing explosives on a fence near Majdal Shams.[14]

On 23 June 2015, several dozen Druze from the village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights attacked an Israeli military ambulance evacuating two wounded Syrians from the neutral zone. The attack was reportedly motivated by a rumor that the ambulance evacuated Jihadist fighters from Syria. The attack on the ambulance resulted in the beating to death of one of the wounded Syrians,[46] and the other's deterioration into a critical condition;[47] an Israeli officer and a soldier were also wounded in the incident.[47] The attack was reported by the media as a "lynch" by Druze mob, but drew a praise from the Syrian state media, who defined the act as "heroic".[46] The Prime Minister of Israel consequently pledged to track down those responsible for the act and bring them to justice.[47] The attack was also condemned by the Israeli Druze leader, Sheikh Muafak Tarif, who said that an emergency meeting of religious and secular Druze leaders "strongly condemned" the ambulance attack, calling it "a deplorable act committed by outlaws".[47]

On 28 June 2015, rocket alert sirens sounded twice in 30 minutes in northern Golan Heights. The IDF said the sirens were triggered by internal Syrian battles between rebel groups and Assad forces.[48]

On 20 August 2015, four rockets struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Upper Galilee. The IDF retaliated with air strikes on Syrian Army warehouses and infrastructure in the Quneitra and Rif Dimashq region of Syria later that day and artillery fire at fourteen targets in Syria. Security sources said the Islamic Jihad organization was responsible for the rocket fire, with the financial backing and the direction of Iran.[49] Furthermore, Israel said that Syria was also responsible and "will suffer the consequences".[50] The sites that were targeted by the IDF were Al-Ba’ath, Al-Hamidiyah, Al-Kawm, along with the 90th brigade base.[51] After six hours, the IDF resumed its attacks on Ba'athist Syriam forces, targeting the 68th brigade base in Khan Al-Sheih (Rif Dimashq Governorate) and the 90th brigade base. According to Syrian government and IDF sources, the new round of Israeli airstrikes were more intense than previous attacks.[52][53] The next morning, the IDF launched an additional airstrike on a vehicle, killing 4-5 allegedly Iran-backed Islamic Jihad militants who were believed to be the perpetrators of the initial attack on Israel.[18] The Syrian government refuted this report, claiming that the attack killed five civilians.[53][54][55]

On 26 and 27 September 2015, two rockets hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights without causing any injury or damage. The Israeli military said they hit two Syrian military installations in response.[54][56]

2016

On the morning of 13 September 2016, Syrian military claimed to have intercepted an Israeli jet near Quneitra and a military drone in the vicinity of Sa'sa' in southern Syria.[57] The online news outlet Al-Masdar Al-'Arabi published a video on the same day, purporting to show an Israeli plane downed by a Syrian rocket, although it is not a clear footage.[57] Israeli Army spokesman denied the report, branding it "total lies".[57] IDF elaborated that it took out Syrian military targets on the Syrian controlled Golan Heights after artillery fire over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but that all the aircraft returned safely.[57]

On 27 November 2016, Israeli forces came under an ambush by ISIS-linked militants in the Golan. In the ensuing firefight and Israeli airstrike, four terrorists were killed while there were no casualties among IDF forces.[58] On 28 November, another Israeli airstrike was carried out against an abandoned United Nations building that was suspected of being used as a base by ISIS militants.[59] The facility was controlled by the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, which is part of ISIS.[60]

2017

On 9 February 2017, a mortar shell fired from a tank in Syria exploded in open territory in the Golan Heights along Israel's northern border. The IDF attacked a Syrian army post in retaliation.[61]

On March 17, 2017, Israeli Defense Forces aircraft were reportedly targeted by several Syrian S-200 missiles above the Western Golan Heights, and one missile was shot down by an Arrow 2.[62][63][64] Syrian accused Israeli Air Force of attempting to attack Syrian military targets near Palmyra. Israel denied Syria's claim that one jet fighter was shot down and another damaged. According to some sources, the incident was the first time Israeli officials clearly confirmed an Israeli strike on a Hezbollah convoy during the Syrian Civil War.[65][vague]

Alleged Israeli attacks on Hezbollah and Iranian forces in Syria

In the course of the Syrian Civil War, some sources have attributed several incidents deep within Syrian territory to Israel. The first incident of this kind took place on January 30, 2013, when Israeli aircraft were accused of allegedly striking a Syrian convoy transporting Iranian weapons to Hezbollah.[66] More incidents were attributed to IAF in May 2013, December 2014 and April 2015. Some of those reports were confirmed by Syria, whereas others denied. Israel routinely refused to comment on alleged targeting of Hezbollah and Ba'athist targets in Syrian territory.

In March 2017, Syria launched anti-aircraft missiles towards Israeli-controlled parts of the Golan Heights, allegedly targeting Israeli IAF aircraft, which Syria claimed were on their way to attack targets in Palmyra (Syria). After the incident, Israel stated it was targeting weapon shipments headed toward anti-Israeli forces, specifically Hezbollah, in Lebanon.[67] Israel denied Syria's claim that one jet fighter was shot down and another damaged. Israel has not reported any pilots or aircraft missing in Syria, or anywhere else in the Middle East following the incident. According to some sources, the incident was the first time Israeli officials clearly confirmed an Israeli strike on a Hezbollah convoy during the Syrian Civil War.[68]

Reactions

 Israel – On 12 November 2012, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "we are closely following the events and will respond accordingly," and that Israel "won't allow its borders to be breached or its citizens to be fired upon."[69]

On 6 January 2013, Netanyahu announced that the Israeli army would be building an improved security fence in the border between the Israeli-occupied and sovereign Syrian zones of the Golan Heights. He stated that the Syrian army had largely "backed off" from the area, leaving it in control of "global jihad operatives" and that the fence would protect Israeli territory from "infiltrations and terror". An Israeli security official stated that around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of the fence had already been completed, with approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) remaining.[70]

 Syria – On 13 November 2012, the Syrian government, through the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), pledged to halt firing toward Israeli territory.[71]

Syria Syrian opposition – Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported that the Free Syrian Army released a statement accusing Israel of attempting to "aid Assad's criminal regime" by firing into Syria.[72]

See also

References

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