has launched an unprecedented operation to increase security on the Syrian border
in the wake of ongoing turmoil in the country.
Fearing the Syrian regime will lose its grip on the country allowing Global Jihad
cells to base themselves in the Golan Heights,
the army has initiated a "facelift" meant to ensure that the barrier on the border, set up nearly 40 years ago, will remain impenetrable.
Two weeks ago, forces in the Golan Heights started working on a project to massively upgrade the barrier which stretches over tens of kilometers. The efforts will include setting up a new fence, deploying an advanced alert system to replace the old one and significantly improve the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps' observations layout.
IDF jeep patrolling the border (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Budget considerations meant that only very limited means were put in place to upgrade security at the border. Just two 8-kiolmeter stretches of the fence were replaced following the riots during the Nkaba and Naksa days.
Old fence (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Army sources estimated that the project will cost Israel
some NIS 6 million per kilometer. The new fence will be shorter than the one on the southern border but the new alert system is slated to improve the IDF's operational capabilities. New roads were also paved in several spots, improving the patrol squads' response time.
Combat Engineering forces are operating in the area accompanied by armored tractors and bulldozers. Armored and Artillery Corps units are providing the security. The IDF's activity is coordinated with the UN's border forces who are closely monitoring the operation. The army is hoping to complete work within a few months.
New alert system to be installed (Photo: Yaron Brener)
The sense of urgency is derived from fear that terrorists will exploit the Syrian regime's loosing grip in the country to carry out attacks against soldiers or civilians, much like recent efforts on the Sinai Peninsula. The Golani Brigade's elite combat unit Egoz has been called in to support the forces along the border for this reason.
Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Major-General Yair Naveh on Tuesday warned of increasing terrorist activity near Israel's borders. "Fear of escalation is growing in the wake of activity on the Syrian border," he said.