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Netanyahu and Barak in Golan Uncertain of What the Future Holds

Barak: It is very difficult to estimate what the future of Syria will be and we need to be vigilant and alert here.
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 11/14/2012, 5:14 PM

Barak and Netanyahu overlook Syria
Barak and Netanyahu overlook Syria
Ariel Harmoni (Defense Ministry)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the Golan Heights Wednesday afternoon as they overlooked the area where the IDF returned fire recently and were briefed by Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Naveh, and Head of Israeli Northern Command Major General Yair Golan.

During the tour, the Prime Minister spoke about the spillover from Syria, saying, '' I came today with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Head of the Northern Command in order to inspect the IDF's deployment and operations in the face of the new challenges facing Syria."

Netanyahu added,"There are two immediate challenges. One is (Syria) shooting at our forces and at our territory, and the second is their attempt at infiltration. I'm Impressed that the IDF is working well to meet these challenges. And on the other side of this, there is the formation of a new government in Syria -- new forces of fission in the Syrian regime and the formation of forces even more hostile to Israel, the forces of global jihad. We will work to take care of this too.''

Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke of Syria's unstable and shaky future, noting that the IDF must be prepared to deal with a future Syria which is hard to predict at the moment. "The IDF in the North is doing a very good job and is following the painful disintegration of the Assad regime," said Barak. "Almost all of the villages at the foot of this ridge and even further up are already in the hands of the rebels. The Syrian army is revealing an efficiency that is diminishing. Of course, the command will ensure that they are not shooting at us in an open and free manner and that they do not condone the violence that is seeping into Israel. All this is part of a broader preparation for further infiltration. It is very difficult to estimate what the future of Syria will be and we need to be vigilant and alert here, just like in other regions."

For the past week mortar shells and stray bullets have been spilling over into Israel as a result of the escalating violence in Syria. 

The IDF has changed the rules of engagement along the Syrian border as a result, with new orders instructing soldiers to respond if fire from Syria is dangerous and persistent.