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Rights Group: Ten Syrian Soldiers Killed in IAF Airstrikes

Retaliatory measures for explosion in Golan Heights leave rights groups, Damascus grumbling about IDF response to the spillover.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/23/2014, 1:26 PM

IDF patrol in Golan Heights
IDF patrol in Golan Heights
Reuters

At least 10 Syrian soldiers were killed in Israeli overnight air raids on positions near the Golan Heights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring group said on Monday. 

"At least 10 Syrian soldiers were killed in Israeli raids against military positions [near the Golan - ed.]," SOHR said Monday. "Nine missiles were fired by aircraft and at least two tanks and two artillery batteries were destroyed." 

On Sunday, Syrian soldiers fired a mortar shell or other explosive into the Golan, killing a 15 year-old boy and seriously injuring several Israelis, including a civilian subcontractor for the Ministry of Defense. 

The IAF retaliated to the terror attack - which saw the first Israeli killed in the Syrian Civil War since its outbreak in 2011 - with airstrikes on Syrian military positions near the border town of Quneitra. 

Syria has claimed that the act of self-defense is a "violation of international law." Late Sunday, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, asked the United Nations to take actions against Israel, claiming it violated the 1974 ceasefire agreement in the Golan Heights.

Mekdad asked the UN Security Council to take prompt measures against Israel and the countries backing terrorist groups, adding that “these violations are not only a flagrant breach of the agreement, but also a threat that puts at risk the safety of the UN personnel.”

He demanded that the United Nations help Syria in its counterterrorism efforts by obliging the countries that support terrorists to refrain from it.

The Syrian border with Israel has been less than quiet, with small skirmishes erupting between Syrian rebel forces and the IDF on several occasions. 

Earlier this month, Syrian rebels shot at an IDF post near Mount Hermon; no one was hurt. In early March, two rockets landed also near an IDF post in Mount Hermon. No injuries or damage were reported in that incident.

Despite several incidents, Israel has rarely seen damage or injuries from the threat of Syrian fighting along the border.

Last month, several top military officials warned that the war would inevitably cross into Israel, however - and that when it did, Syrian President Bashar Assad would pay the price. 

"It happens quite a lot, almost daily, that a Syrian plane fighting with rebel forces approaches the Golan Heights border" an official said in May. "When it does happen, [Assad] will fall. It's bound to happen."