A cross-border exchange of fire in the Golan Heights between the Israeli and Syrian armies early on Tuesday triggered a claim by the Damascus regime that a jeep manned by Israeli troops had entered Syrian territory and was destroyed.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) denied the claim, saying shots were deliberately fired at a patrol inside the Israeli-controlled the Golan Heights, causing minor damage and no injuries. “In response, IDF forces returned precise fire at the source and reported a direct hit,” it said.
It was the latest in a string of cross-border incidents in recent months, which have raised concerns that the two-year-old civil war in Syria could spill over into the neighbouring Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied for more than 40 years.
Israel has launched three air strikes against targets inside Syria in recent weeks, all of which the country claimed were targeting weapons/supplies intended for Hezbollah. It remains to be seen what sort of impact today’s exchange of fire will have on ongoing attempts to jump-start peace talks between the Syrian government and rebel fighters.