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Syrian Army Promises to Avoid Firing at Israel

The Syrian army has pledged to Israel that its soldiers will avoid firing at the Israeli side of the border.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/14/2012, 4:42 AM

Near the Syria border
Near the Syria border
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Syrian army has pledged to Israel that its soldiers will avoid firing at the Israeli side of the border, Channel 10 News reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the Syrian army sent a message along these lines to Israel, after the IDF fired at Syria twice this week in response to mortar shells landing in the Golan Heights as part of the fighting between Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and the rebels.

Channel 10 further reported that members of the UN force operating in the Golan Heights buffer zone between Israel and Syria have told officials in Jerusalem that they too were under the impression that the message Israel sent to Syria has been received on the other side.

The Syrian army has reportedly announced that it will direct its mortar shells in a way that they do not hit Israel.

On Monday, a mortar shell from Syria landed in the Golan Heights, prompting the IDF to return fire for the second time in two days.

An Israeli security source confirmed that troops had returned fire after a mortar round from Syria hit an Israeli position in the central sector of the strategic plateau, causing no casualties or damage.

A day earlier, Syrian soldiers shelled an IDF outpost, prompting Israeli soldiers to fire warning shots back in response. It was the first time Israel had fired into Syrian territory since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Last Thursday, three mortar shells were fired into Israel, with one of them hitting a neighborhood in the religious Zionist town of Alonei Habashan, which is less than a kilometer from the border. None of the shells exploded.

IDF sappers rushed to the scene to neutralize the shells. No one was injured, and there was no damage.

Also last week, an IDF position near the border with Syria was hit by stray bullets. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

The IDF has changed the rules of engagement along the Syrian border in response to the continued spillover of the fighting in Syria.

The new orders instruct soldiers to respond if fire from Syria is dangerous and persistent.