Published: Fri, August 03, 2018

Israel kills seven militants amid tensions on Syria's border

Israel kills seven militants amid tensions on Syria's border

"As the situation stabilizes, these posts will be handed over to Syrian government forces", Rudskoy told reporters.

Relations between the two countries have been sour for decades, following numerous episodes of hostilities, Syria's participation in the 1967 Six-Day War of Arab nations against Israel and Israel's continued occupation of the Golan Heights, among other issues.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it was tracking the movement of the men toward the border fence with Israel on the Golan Heights on Wednesday evening.

The Islamic State has also been routed from nearby territory it once controlled.

The Syrian conflict erupted in 2011 and Russian intervention in 2015 helped to turn the tide in President Bashar al-Assad's favour.

Seven IS militants were killed in an Israeli attack overnight Wednesday in Syria's Golan Heights.

Sergei Rudskoi, a senior Russian defense ministry official, said that Russian military police had on Thursday begun patrolling in the Golan Heights and planned to set up eight observation posts in the area.

A week later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov flew to Jerusalem where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in talks that focused on the Iranian presence in Syria.

In a nod to his battlefield gains, Israel described victory by Assad, who is on a last push to restore his rule after more than seven years of civil war, as a fait accompli that could calm the Golan Heights.

According to IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Israel tracked the terror cell as they approached the fence, striking them before they could infiltrate.

The Jordanian army said that on the Syrian side of the border, regime forces cornered the jihadists in a pocket of southern Syria around the Yarmouk Basin and neighboring villages. He said a preliminary assessment was that the infiltrators were Islamic State militants.

"The IDF remains, on high readiness, and levels of alert for any threats - be it in the air or on the ground - and we of course remain committed to defend Israeli citizens and Israeli sovereignty", Conricus told journalists. The army's announcement came shortly after Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman toured a Patriot missile defence battery in northern Israel during a military preparedness drill.

Israel has since denied that this was a deal, and said they consider the pullback "inadequate".

Ali Hammoud, in an interview with Reuters on Monday, said the Syrian government had yet to receive any request from Jordan to reopen the crossing.

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