Syrian regime forces raised the country's two-star flag on the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights yesterday, a monitor said, around four years after losing control of the area.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime forces had entered the buffer zone separating Syrian territory from the Israeli-annexed Golan and hoisted the flag there. Al-Watan, a daily newspaper close to the regime, reported that "army troops raised the Syrian flag above the Quneitra crossing, a few dozen meters from enemy Israeli troop," as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The Syrian regime offensive took place just 4 kilometers away from a disengagement area between the countryside of Quneitra and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. After securing Damascus in May, Assad turned his attention to the opposition in the strategic south where protests against his rule first erupted in 2011.
Tensions escalate between the Syrian regime and Israel as Bashar Assad's latest conduct in southern Syria worries Israel over possible deployments by Iran and Hezbollah in the area. Israel threatened a "harsh response" to any attempt by Syrian regime forces advancing against southern opposition areas to deploy in a Golan Heights frontier zone that was demilitarized under a 44-year-old U.N. monitored truce between the neighboring foes.