Israeli troops fire on Syrian army post following mortar launch


(JTA) — Israeli troops opened fire on a Syrian army post that they said was used for firing a mortar round at Israel.

No Israeli troops were injured in the exchange and the mortar round landed in the buffer zone separating land controlled by Israel from Syria, the Israel Broadcasting Corp., or IBC, reported.

An unnamed military source told IBC that the round may have been fired accidentally amid fighting by warring factions in Syria’s civil war.

Separately, the Asharq Al-Awsat daily in London reported that Russia is mediating talks between Israeli officials and officials from the regime of Bashar Assad, Syria’s contested president, for the creation of a demilitarized zone in Syria near the border with Israel.

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Thousands of displaced Syrians live in tent camps near the border with Israel, with many hundred pouring in in recent days following fighting in Syria’s seven-year civil war in which approximately 500,000 people have died.

Last week, Israel’s army gave food, equipment and medicine to Syrians staying there.

More than 120,000 people are believed to have fled their homes this week alone amid a major offensive by Assad’s army to recapture areas that have been under the control of Sunni rebels.

Israel has remained mostly neutral in the war in Syria, which is largely fought along sectarian lines. The Jewish state, which is technically in a state of war with Syria, has intervened several times to take out weapons before they reach Hezbollah. The Shiite terrorist group is aiding the army of Assad, who is an Alawite – a minority group with ties to Shiite Islam.

Iran, a Shiite Muslim nation, is a staunch ally of Hezbollah and Assad, who is supported by Russia under President Vladimir Putin.