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Israel Just Took Over the Golan Demilitarized Buffer Zone

Debka File


Israeli military bulldozers backed by tanks have crossed into the demilitarized zone dividing the Israeli and Syrian Golan borders. They are building a line of fortifications and anti-tank trenches 300-500 meters inside the DMZ.

This is the first time in the six-year Syrian war that the IDF has openly operated on the Syrian side of the border. The force has not so far run into opposition- or indeed any word of protest – or even mention – by Assad regime officials in Damascus.

The sole reference to Israeli military movements in the DMZ has come from a small Syrian rebel group which described them.

debkafile’s military sources report that the IDF operation was still going forward Wednesday, July 12, on a patch of terrain facing the Israeli Golan village of Ein Zivan, on the one hand, and the Syrian town of Quneitra, on the other.

The enclave splitting the Golan between Syria and Israel is defined in the 1974 armistice agreements as a demilitarized zone under the military control of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and Syrian civilian administration. It is bounded by two strips of land around 10km deep where each side is permitted to maintain diluted military strength. No ground-to-air missiles may be deployed inside a 25km radius from the DMZ.

It was agreed that Syrian nationals forced by the October 1973 war and its aftermath to leave their homes would be able to return. Ruined Quneitra was later handed back to Syria against a commitment by its government to repopulate the town and ban terrorist activity and infiltrations of Israel from the Golan sector.

Both commitments were given orally to the US government.

However, the Syrian war as it unfolded in the last two years turned the deal on its head. The UN observers abandoned their posts, leaving


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