Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights region on Wednesday and observed an exercise conducted by the Golani Brigade. "What's changed here is that today we are holding a drill in the Golan Heights that is not theoretical. The reality around us is changing and it is explosive, and we must prepare accordingly," the PM told the combat soldiers.
"We must have the will to break the enemy and instill within it - at the moment of truth - the fear of death," he said. "This is how you win a battle, and if they test us, we will know how to defeat them."
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Netanyahu was accompanied by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Major General Gadi Eizenkot and GOC Northern Command Major General Yair Golan.
The PM was addressing the recent victories of Bashar Assad's army in the civil war against rebels trying to overthrow the Syrian president.
Netanyahu (L) and Ya'alon during Golani drill (Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO)
During the drill, Golani forces simulated the conquest of vast areas. "We must be prepared to change the situation and dictate the situation," Netanyahu told the soldiers. "We are not looking to challenge anyone, but there will be a strong response to anyone who tries to hurt us."
Ya'alon said he was impressed with the brigade's level of "preparedness and ability," adding that "Golani, like other combat units in the IDF, may be called to battle on short notice. Therefore, this drill has a special significance at this time and on this front.
"We will not tolerate a violation of our sovereignty or any harm to our soldiers and citizens. It is important to make it clear to those on the other side of the border who are planning to hurt us in one way or another that we are prepared and determined to act with full force," Ya'alon said.
Also on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the country's uprising in March 2011.
The Observatory said the toll now stands at 100,191 people, with at least 36,661 civilians killed, including more than 3,000 women and more than 5,000 children under the age of 16.
The group, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground throughout Syria, said 18,072 rebel fighters had been killed.
On the regime side, the group reported the deaths of at least 25,407 army soldiers, 17,311 pro-regime militia and 169 members of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which has dispatched fighters to battle alongside the Syrian army.
The group counted another 2,571 unidentified people killed in the fighting throughout the war-torn country up until June 24.
AFP contributed to the report
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