News / Middle East

Israeli Airstrikes in Golan Heights Kill Syrian Soldier

Israeli soldier stands by mobile artillery unit near town of Katzrin, Golan Heights, March 19, 2014.
Israeli soldier stands by mobile artillery unit near town of Katzrin, Golan Heights, March 19, 2014.
VOA News
Israeli airstrikes against Syrian military positions in the Golan Heights killed one soldier and wounded seven in the most serious escalation between the two neighbors since Syria's civil war broke out three years ago.

Syria's military confirmed the casualties from the strikes, which came in response to an attack Tuesday on Israeli forces across the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line in the Golan.

Both sides issued stark warnings following the incidents.

Israeli military officials said the targets Wednesday included an army training facility, military headquarters and artillery batteries that had "aided and abetted" the earlier attack on an Israeli army patrol.

The bomb attack was the third such incident along Israel’s northern borders in less than two weeks and the first to cause Israeli casualties. Four soldiers were wounded, one severely.

An Israeli military spokesman called the blast "an unacceptable escalation of violence from Syria" and vowed that Israel would not tolerate threats to its forces and people.

In Washington Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Israel has a right to defend itself.  She also urged Israel and Syria to adhere to their 1974 cease-fire agreement that called for the two countries to remove their military forces from the Golan Heights and refrain from fighting.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it.  The strategic plateau has seen occasional spillover violence from the Syrian civil war.

The latest attacks appear to have been carried out in revenge for a series of airstrikes blamed on Israeli forces over the past year against weapons convoys and warehouses, mostly in Syrian territory.

Israeli says it will act to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to the Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah militia, which is currently fighting in Syria to aid that government's fight against Sunni rebel forces.

Also Wednesday, Syria and its Russian ally criticized the decision by the United States to suspend the operations of Syria's embassy in Washington and consulates in other cities.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the action as a violation of international diplomatic conventions, while Moscow called it "worrying and disappointing."

Syria announced on March 10 it would stop providing consular services in the United States. State Department officials said while embassy and consular activities were affected the U.S. was not severing diplomatic relations with Syria.

Meanwhile, aid officials said a U.N. convoy of about 80 trucks prepared to cross the Turkish border into Syria for the first time, a step they hope will pave the way for humanitarian access to the country's most desperate areas.

The U.N. Security Council last month unanimously called for Syrian authorities and rebels to allow prompt access for humanitarian supplies across front lines and borders by the most direct routes.

Last week, Syria granted its approval to the opening of the border crossing and sources said Turkey has also given the delivery the go-ahead.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nikol from: Los Angeles
March 19, 2014 4:43 PM
Yay for Israel:)

by: Anonymous
March 19, 2014 3:38 PM
Noone likes war, this is why assad should of been stopped and arrested long ago and this wouldn't be happening. assads thugs will not arrest him, they risk being killed themselves. thug mentality, dropping barrel bombs in populated areas, buildings with families turned to dust, and assad is exempt from war crimes? Who is arming assad enabling assad to commit these crimes? Crimes on both sides but assad is known to have commited crimes. Sicking a military on your own people is not a leader, it is a coward by all means, and is criminal.

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
March 19, 2014 2:02 PM
What is the use of increase in pain in poor syrian. No body in this world to give food,energy,shelter,water and other basic needs of life. World famous terrorist with the support of CIVILISED NATIONS playing with human body and no body is their to stop them OR rather they gave money and weapons to increase as much as possible pain and unlimited problems for syrian peoples. This is the reward of good education.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 19, 2014 12:26 PM
Syria weakens itself with the distraction to attack Israel. Surely it's mission impossible for Syria to have a winner its way with Israel. Right now Syria is making progress in its war prosecution, and the best it should do itself is concentrate more effort in that direction before the so-called humanitarian aid of 80 convoy trucks deliver lethal "humanitarian weapons" to al qaida and allied terrorists with which to rout the Syrian army. Certainly Assad has allowed the Hezbollah too much leverage to infiltrate the Golan Heights. Hezbollah must have initiated the attacks. So Assad should make sure there are no Hezbollah fighters in the borderline with Israel, otherwise they will forget the mission of the Syrian civil war to introduce the agenda of the Liberation and/or Resistance. One thing at a time

But Assad should activate its Russian support to forestall the US introduction from the Turkish entry point that can change the winning equation in the civil war, if Assad wants it to end in his favor, and soon too. Remember, Obama has been rethinking his approach to the red line tripping, recently. This maybe his change of tactics, don't let him correct it at your expense; that is that Assad should not be caught napping - it is called a cut-off in military parlance. If possible, the US and allied forces would like to show their dislike for Russia’s intrigue in Ukraine by destabilizing Syria – this is called proxy war. Think Syria has had enough of war and should be winding down rather than having an escalation through firing at Israel.

by: Oleg from: Russia
March 19, 2014 11:56 AM
Israel is literally besieged by evil... and what Obama pressure them to do..?? carve out Israel's heart and give it to the PLO..!!! - an Islamic terrorist organization. Listen, Israel, Putin will never do that to you, Israel. If you want real friends, Israel, come to Russia. Only Russia can make Iran shut up and silenced forever. Only Russia can make Philistines disappear and sent back to Jordan. Only Russia can pulverize Hamas in Gaza. Israel, you come to Russia.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
March 19, 2014 8:43 AM
Am proud of Israel's ever quick response to what might escalate if not stopped at its instance, if the US had acted to punish Assad's military by dismantling all air defense system, ammunition depots and heavy equipments when the red line was crossed may be Assad's delegates at the Geneva 2 conference would be talking reasonably, now the friends of Syria are now shifted to friends of Ukraine for now.

by: Phillip from: Rustenburg, South Africa
March 19, 2014 7:38 AM
This was long overdue. I hope the same.happens with the untouchable Russia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More