Israel bolstered security along its border with Syria on Thursday as fighting between Syrian rebels and President Bashar Assad's regime intensified, Israeli security sources told AFP.
"The IDF is reinforcing the fence between Israel and Syria by adding more barbed wire," one Israeli official said, indicating that it was motivated by "fears that refugees from the Syrian side could cross it."
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With the clashes spreading across the Syrian side of the border, Israeli troops were put on "very high" alert, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
'Soldiers have been deployed' (Photo: AFP)
"The state of alert is very high. A lot of soldiers have been moved to the area, officially for training, but they will be there if anything big happens," he said.
"There are also more planes and more snipers."
A second security official confirmed the move to reinforce the ceasefire line but said it was motivated by fears that terrorists could use the chaos to try to infiltrate the Jewish state. He denied the move was linked to fears that the Golan could be flooded by thousands of Syrian refugees, insisting that Israel would help anyone whose life was in genuine danger.
Blocking refugee surge
Ynet's military analyst Ron Ben Yishai said that Israel has an interest in preventing a surge of Syrian, Druze and Palestinian refugees to the border fence in search of shelter. He reiterated the concern that Islamic Jihad terrorists could slip in among the asylum seekers and carry out attacks on Israel.
Golan Heights (Photo: AP)
The defense establishment, therefore, seeks to use the media to make it clear that the IDF will block any attempt to cross the border without receiving authorization from Israel and United Nations forces stationed in the Golan Heights.
Since the turmoil in Syria began 17 months ago, tens of thousands of refugees have fled for Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. Only last week, following a series of battles that ravaged Damascus, 30,000 refugees were reported to have escaped the country.
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