Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan warned Syria on Thursday that Israel could attack Syrian forces if they were deployed in a border zone subject to a 44-year-old UN demilitarization agreement, building on their rout of Syrian rebels in the region.
"We must verify and do everything to clarify, vis-a-vis the Russians, the Assad government, that we will not accept any armed presence by the Assad regime in the areas which are meant to be demilitarized," Erdan told Ynet.
Asked if Israel was prepared to take preventive action against the Syrian military, Erdan said: "Unequivocally, yes."
He cited, as precedents, Israeli air strikes carried out in recent months against Syrian facilities deemed to have been used in attacks on Israel or by Assad's Iranian reinforcements.
"Here, too, if there is a violation, and certainly in the southern Syrian region which is close to the citizens of the State of Israel, and a bringing of weaponry that should not be there, Israel will take action," Erdan said.