Israel strikes Syrian regime forces as Netanyahu visits illegally occupied Golan Heights

Israel strikes Syrian regime forces as Netanyahu visits illegally occupied Golan Heights
Israeli forces have hit the Syrian regime again, close to the occupied Golan Heights, as fighting continues between pro-Damascus militias and rebels.
2 min read
29 June, 2017
Quneitra has been a flash-point for fighting despite an unofficial ceasefire [AFP]

Israel launched more air strikes on Syrian positions in Quneitra province on Wednesday evening, after the occupied Golan Heights was hit by mortar fire. 

The planes fired on Syrian regime mortar units in Eastern Samadaniyah, close to al-Baath City, although no casualties were reported.

Israel says it fired on the position as fighting between regime and rebel forces in Quneitra province spilled into the occupied Golan Heights.

It was the third Israeli bombing of Quneitra this week, where Hizballah fighters are backing the Syrian regime in the battle against opposition forces.

The attack came as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the Golan Heights to mark the 40th anniversary of the capture and illegal annexation of the territories by Israeli forces. 

The international community does not recognise Israel's claims to the land.

Netanyahu re-reiterated Israel's annexation of the territories during a speech at the Golan Heights, and vowed to target Damascus' armed forces if any of the fighting between rebel and regime "threatens" Israeli forces.

"The Golan is ours and the Golan will always be ours. The Golan is ours because it belonged to our forefathers, and because it was taken back by us due to Syrian aggression,"
he told Israeli forces stationed there.

"Those who fire into our territory will encounter a swift response." 

Syrian regime forces, meanwhile, launched a counter-offensive on positions captured by rebel forces.

Fighting has intensified this week between pro-Damascus militias and the opposition Jaish al-Mohammed coalition, which includes fighters from the Free Syrian Army and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Syrian regime war planes bombed two opposition villages in Quneitra on Wednesday, killing at least one child, after losing territory to the rebel alliance.

Syrian rebel fighters have used anti-tank weapons to fight back against regime armour in the area and captured several key areas around al-Baath City.