Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to the northern border Tuesday with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman for a military briefing on by IDF commanders in the area.
“Spillover” missile and artillery fire from the raging civil war on the Syrian side still periodically lands on Israeli territory, despite various cease fire deals that have been attempted over the past several years. A number of such barrages — in particular, a barrage of 10 mortar shells last month — has led Israeli civilians to wonder if the “spillover” was as “random” as they were told. Israel Defense Forces return fire to end the “spillovers” each time.
Syrian regime aircraft are continuing to carry out air strikes in Eastern Ghouta despite the declaration of a cease fire Saturday following talks in Egypt between Russia and opposition forces, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Russia’s Defense Ministry says military police were deployed to the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta and to an area in southwestern Syria to help implement “safe zones” agreed upon with Turkey and Iran earlier this year. But Syria appears to be ignoring the cease fire. And Syrian opposition forces were not part of that deal, publicly at least. Moreover, it’s not clear how forces who were not part of the deal are expected to relate to the 10 Russian observation posts and two checkpoints set up between Syrian regime forces and their own.
Israel made clear to Moscow from the outset its concerns that Syrian allies Iran and Hezbollah would use the new zones as cover for establishing new bases in the area, from which to later launch attacks against the Jewish State.
International media also reported that Israel, Jordan and the United States reached a separate agreement that any final status deal would result in Syrian forces alone – without its Iranian proxy allies like Hezbollah, or Iran itself – in a buffer zone along the Israeli and Jordanian borders in the Dera’a Province, close to Lake Kinneret, Kibbutz Degania Aleph, Beit She’an and the southeastern Golan Heights.
“We informed our colleagues from the United States, Jordan and Israel through military diplomatic channels in advance of the deployment of the Russian control forces around the perimeter of the de-escalation zone in southern Syria,” Russian Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudosky, head of the main operational directorate of the Russian General Staff told Sputnik News. The checkpoints and observation posts are intended to support the “cease fire regime, facilitate unhindered access of humanitarian supplies, the return of refugees and temporarily displaced persons,” he added. But Syrian regime forces appear to be ignoring the deal thus far, as they have with others.
The nearest Russian military post is just 13 kilometers, or 8 miles, from the disengagement zone of the Israeli and Syrian forces near the Golan Heights, according to Rudosky.
Islamic State (Da’esh/ISIS) forces are not included in the cease fire deal.