Russian forces join United Nations peacekeepers on Golan Heights frontier patrol

Saul Bowman
August 3, 2018

The terrorists had crossed into Israeli territory but had not yet breached the security fence, Conricus said, indicating the terrorists may have been on the way to attack Israel.

Russia's Defence Ministry says United Nations peacekeepers returned on Thursday to patrol the frontier between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the first time in years - Moscow's latest achievement in efforts to negotiate a solution to the crisis along the volatile border.

A Jordanian army source told Reuters news agency that ISIL fighters who fled from the border area were chased by Syrian army units conducting operations in the region aiming to drive them out of their last hideouts.

Still, in related violence, Israel's military said Thursday that its aircraft fired on "several armed terror operatives in the southern Syrian Golan Heights" overnight and that troops were on high alert.

"Following searches this morning, explosive belts and an AK-47 assault rifle were found", the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted.

The UN peacekeeping forces first deployed along the frontier in 1974 to separate Syrian and Israeli forces after Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 war.

The remarks by Israel's defense minister signal an emerging Israeli accommodation with Assad, an old enemy who has not sought direct confrontation with Israel, as he regains control of Syria from rebels - including some Islamist groups.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, confirmed fighting between Assad's forces and Islamic State on the Syrian-held Golan, which also abuts Jordan.

The Syrian civil war erupted in 2011 and Russian intervention in 2015 helped to turn the tide in Assad's favor.

"As the situation stabilizes, these posts will be handed over to Syrian government forces", Rudskoy told reporters.

The terrorists were some 700 feet into the demilitarized zone at the time of the strike, Conricus said, clarifying that the gunmen had not reached the heavily fortified security fence on the Israeli side of the buffer zone.

"We will not allow the religious extremist regime in Tehran to build military power in Syria that presents a threat to the citizens of Israel". An initial assessment by Israel's military identified the gunmen as Islamic State militants, in what would mark a rare attempt by the Islamist militants to infiltrate Israel.

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