Israel warns Syria over conflict spilling into Golan

Israel's deputy prime minister Moshe Yaalon warned Damascus on Friday it would act to defend its sovereignty if the bloody fighting in Syria continued to spill over into the occupied Golan Heights.

His remarks, published on his official Twitter account, were made a day after three stray mortar rounds fired from Syria hit the occupied Golan, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.

"We see the Syrian regime as responsible for what is happening along the border," said Yaalon, a senior cabinet minister and former armed forces chief of staff.

"The current situation in Syria could carry on for an extended and bloody period. If we see that it spills over in our direction, we know how to defend the citizens and the sovereignty of the State of Israel," said the minister, who holds the strategic affairs portfolio.

"The other side has received a lot of messages recently and until now, has acted accordingly in Syria. I hope that in this incident too, there will be someone who takes this in hand."

The three mortar rounds which struck the Golan on Thursday were the latest in a string of incidents in which fire has spilled across the ceasefire line onto the Israeli side.

"They are apparently shells fired in error during fighting between different forces inside Syria," an army spokeswoman told AFP.

On Monday, an Israeli military vehicle patrolling the buffer zone was hit by gunfire, with the army acknowledging it was caused by "stray bullets."

No one was injured but the incident prompted an Israeli complaint to the United Nations Security Council in which it described the gunfire as a "grave violation" of a 1974 agreement on security in the buffer zone.

Source: AFP

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