Israel Shoots down Drone Flying over from Syria

Israel Shoots down Drone Flying over from Syria

Wednesday, 11 July, 2018 - 16:45
Israeli police inspect debris from what the military said was a Syrian drone that it shot down near the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel July 11, 2018. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Israeli military announced on Wednesday that it shot down a drone that flew in from Syria in the second such incident in two months.

Air-defense sirens on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and close to the nearby Jordanian border were set off when a Patriot missile fired to intercept the Syrian drone, a military spokesman said.

The drone, which had also overflown Jordan and appeared to have been unarmed and designed for surveillance, was downed near the Sea of Galilee at the Golan foothills in northern Israel, spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

“We are still looking into why it crossed - whether it was on a military mission and crossed on purpose, or it strayed,” he said, while adding that the latter scenario was “not common”.

Israel has been on high alert as Syrian regime forces advance on opposition factions in the vicinity of the Golan. Israel worries that it could deploy troops or allow Iranian and “Hezbollah” allies to set up emplacements near Israeli lines.

Israel captured much of the Golan in a 1967 war with Syria and annexed the strategic plateau in a move not recognized internationally. It has threatened to open fire at any Syrian regime forces that try to deploy in a demilitarized Golan buffer zone set up as part of a 1974 UN-monitored armistice.

The United Nations last month renewed the mandate of its Golan observer force UNDOF and on Wednesday called on all parties to abide by the 44-year-old armistice arrangements.

“There should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF,” a UN spokesman said.

On June 24, Israel’s military said it launched a Patriot missile at an incoming drone from Syria, which turned away unscathed. A Syrian commander said the drone was engaged in local operations.

On July 6, Israel struck a Syrian post that it said had shelled the Golan buffer zone.

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