Syria’s civil war is encroaching onto Israel’s territory.
Syria’s army has taken control of the UN-monitored crossing in the Golan Heights which has previously been run by rebel forces, reports BBC News. Tanks and armored vehicles were used in the fighting at Quneitra near the Israeli-held territory. Syrian rebels briefly seized the only crossing along the Israel-Syria ceasefire line on the Golan. Syria’s deployment of tanks in the demilitarised zone violates ceasefire agreements in place since the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, but sources indicate that Israel will not react.
Austria has since stated that it will be withdrawing its peacekeepers, which make up more than a third of the 900 UN force monitoring the demilitarized zone, because the threat has “reached an unacceptable level”. This comes only a day after Syrian troops — with the support of Hezbollah militants — retook the contested town of Qusair. President al-Assad’s government forces have enjoyed a string of victories which have tilted their war against the rebels to their favor. Hezbollah’s involvement may be a factor in these recent wins.
Hezbollah’s involvement in the war as well as the intensification of fighting near Golan have sparked fears that Syria’s bloody conflict could spill across its borders.