Israel DM Declares Syria War 'Effectively Over'

Hannah Rogers
August 3, 2018

Asked whether Israel should be less wary of possible flare-ups on the Golan - much of which it seized from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognised overseas - Lieberman said: "I believe so".

Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km (53 miles) from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, TASS quoted a Russian envoy as saying on Wednesday, but Israel deemed the pullback inadequate.

Also Thursday, Conricus said the Israeli military targeted and killed seven "armed terror operatives" who had crossed into Israeli territory in the southern Golan Heights.

"During the transition period, we plan to establish observation posts of the military police of the Russian Armed Forces along the "Bravo" line", explained Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Sergei Rudskoy. They were believed to be fleeing the Syrian army of President Bashar Assad.

In comments on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that from the Israeli perspective, the Syrian War is over, and returning to a pre-war situation, with the Assad government remaining in power.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it was tracking the movement of the men toward the border fence with Israel on the Golan Heights on Wednesday evening.

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Assad's sweep of southwest Syria drove hundreds of thousands of refugees toward Israel and Jordan, alarming both.

The border area on the Golan Heights is supposed to be under United Nations control, according to a 1974 agreement that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian conflict but acknowledges carrying out dozens of airstrikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah.

Russia's military police will now patrol the Israeli-Syrian border. 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.

"Had they been able to continue, they would have come to the Israeli security fence", Conricus said.

A series of blistering offensives backed by Moscow and Tehran has forced the fighters out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad's regime back in control of almost two-thirds of the country.

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