Israel fires missile into Syria

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According to the Israeli military, the mortars, which exploded in a field, caused no damage or injuries. It also said it was likely stray fire. The UN has been informed of the mortar landings.

Dozens of errant mortar shells have landed in the Israeli territory since the Syria unrest began in 2011. Israel has filed a complaint with the UN peacekeeping forces in the Golan, asking them to end the cross-border shelling. Israel has also shot back occasional missiles at Syrian army positions in response to errant mortar fire.

Last month, Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon warned that Israel will not hesitate to respond to fire with fire. “Once attacks from Syria endanger us or violate our sovereignty, we will identify the source of fire and destroy it,” Ya’alon said.

The occupied Golan has been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria more than two years ago, and clashes behind the cease-fire line have prompted an occasional Israeli response every now and then. Israel has been technically at war with Syria, since the 1967 Six-Day War and it seems that Tel Aviv is fighting a proxy war inside Syria using the insurgents. Watch video

Syria rebels open fire on convoy carrying Russian journalists

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RT reported a Russian TV crew came under fire in Syria when a mainly civilian convoy taking the journalists to the Golan Heights was shelled by Syrian rebels.

The convoy shelled on Saturday was led by a Syrian army military vehicle, and consisted of several cars occupied by civilians, including one with Russian TV journalists.

The shelling started when the cars were about 5 kilometers away from their destination — ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ — the only crossing between Syria and the Golan Heights, disputed territory claimed by both Syria and Israel.

“The Syrian troops started to fight the rebels back, but the insurgents targeted the civilian cars,” said Evgeny Poddubny, the head of the Russian TV crew and special correspondent for Rossiya TV channel.

Throughout the fighting, a Russian cameraman kept filming; gunshots can be heard on the video for 15 minutes. The footage also features a Syrian army officer reporting to command that armed militants attacked first, that shelling was coming from both sides of the road.

“The convoy could not make it to the checkpoint, the rebels set an ambush on the road, fighting broke out, the military responded with heavy fire to cover the retreat of our TV crew, and then they retreated themselves. The militants were further confronted by the field artillery, which is deployed in the area,” Poddubny said.

No one was injured in the attack. A similar incident occurred recently in the Golan Heights buffer zone when Checkpoint Charlie was attacked and seized by rebels on Thursday, and quickly recaptured by government troops.

“The militants use the status of the territory; they hide in the buffer zone and are carrying out attacks like the one you’ve just witnessed. Then they retreat. And we cannot carry out special operations here — as that would be a breach of international agreements. Besides, the rebels are getting help from Israel — it supplies them with ammunition and even provides medical aid to terrorists in mobile hospitals,” Syrian army General Nasr Haidar, whose regiment is deployed in the area, told Rossiya.

Provocations by the insurgents are seen as major reason why international peacekeepers have been withdrawing from the area. Austrian troops, which accounted for 40 percent of the UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, have announced their withdrawal.

This week, Russia proposed to replace Austrian UN peacekeepers on the Israel-Syria border. However, the mandate of the UN mission would not allow Russia’s participation.
http://on.rt.com/7ojpr8

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UN Golan peacekeepers still in militant custody

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The four UN Peacekeepers that were abducted on Tuesday remain unharmed according to a UN Peacekeeping spokesperson.

Negotiations to free the men all four of whom are Filipino are underway and the UN Secretary-General has condemned the incident.

The UN confirms that the foreign backed insurgents fighting the Syrian army are behind the abduction and it’s not the first time they’ve harassed UN Peacekeepers in the Golan.

It was back in March that the Yarmouk Brigades took 21 UN Peacekeepers prisoner being forced to release them after four days.

The Secretary-General issued a statement on Tuesday calling on QUOTE UNQUOTE-all parties to respect UNDOF’s freedom of movement and safety and security.”

Now the Secretary-General’s spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked how the UN is dealing with the situation on the ground.
Nesirky said that UNDOF’s mandate would be served but that forces had been pulled from the area.

The UN Security Council has also issued a press statement condemning the kidnapping one that named the Syrian Opposition specifically but this month’s Council President says the top U-N body needs to be briefed.

The kidnappings by the insurgents in Syria mark the latest in a series of gaffes that have created difficulty for their Western sponsors.

The militant group Al-Nusra has publicly allied itself with terrorist organization Al Qaeda and an independent UN investigator on Monday said that militants had possibly used chemical weapons.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/09/302566/un-golan-peacekeepers-still-in-militant-custody/

Breaking. Syrian rebels abduct 4 UN peacekeepers near Golan Heights

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Syrian rebels have abducted four UN peacekeepers monitoring a ceasefire line between Syria and the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, a UN peacekeeping spokesman has said.

A Syrian rebel group identified as the “Yarmouk martyrs brigade” claimed responsibility for the act, saying the peacekeepers had been detained for their own safety after clashes erupted in the separation zone between Syria and Golan, Reuters reports. They further said the presence of Syrian government forces threatened the safety of the peacekeepers, as well as “criminal elements” in the area.

The rebel group made the announcement via their Facebook page, which was accompanied by a picture of four peacekeepers wearing the signature light-blue UN flak jackets marked “Philippines.”

The peacekeepers were seized while on patrol in an area not far from an area where 21 Filipino observers were taken and held for three days in March, a UN spokesperson said. The Yarmouk martyrs brigade was also responsible for the March abductions.

Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for the UN, said “efforts are underway to secure their release now.”

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) consists of some 1,000 troops and is only equipped with light arms, though the UN deployed additional armored personal carriers, security equipment and ambulances following the March incident.

UN peacekeeping forces have been in the Golan Heights since 1974.

Israel first captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war. The country agreed to return the land to Syria in return for a peace agreement that was rejected by the Arab world.

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Syrian forces crossed the ceasefire line into the Golan Heights in an attempt to retake the territory. Syria’s troops were repelled by Israeli forces.

Israel annexed the Golan in 1981, though they returned about 5 percent of the territory to Syria. The land was merged into a demilitarized zone.

http://on.rt.com/l52ru6
Abducted UN peacekeepers (photo from Yarmouk martyrs brigade’s Facebook page)
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