EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

November 4, 2012

Syrian tanks enter demilitarized Israeli frontier

BEIRUT (AP) — Three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights yesterday, Israel said, raising concerns violence from Syria’s civil war could heat up a long-quiet frontier that has not seen such an incursion in nearly 40 years.

Israel complained to U.N. peacekeepers present in the area, a relatively low-key response that suggested it did not see the Syrian armor as an immediate threat. But the entry marks the most serious spillover of Syria’s turmoil to date at the frontier, where stray ordnance has exploded on the Israeli side in the past.

Neighboring countries are dealing with a variety of incidents linked to the conflict — Turkey exchanged artillery fire with Syria for a week last month, while Jordan has seen several shootings at the border and clashes linked to the uprising against President Bashar Assad have broken out in Lebanon.

Some in Israel worry that that if Assad goes, the country could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists or descend into sectarian warfare that would destabilizing the region. Islamic fighters — some from abroad — are increasingly taking part in key engagements alongside the rebels.

Inside Syria yesterday for example, Islamic militants took part in a dawn assault on a strategic airbase in the north of the country. The attack, reported by activists, aimed to disrupt strikes by government warplanes and helicopters that are pounding rebel-held towns.

Anti-regime activist group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack on the Taftanaz air base continued into the evening, although Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said the fighting was over and government troops had repelled a “terrorist attack.” The government considers the rebels terrorists and pawns in a foreign plot to destroy the country.

Fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militant group made up of foreign jihadis, had joined in the assault, said the Observatory, which relies on reports from activists on the ground. Al-Nusra fighters, who are considered among the most experienced and disciplined among the forces fighting to topple Assad, have led attacks on other airbases in the north in recent months.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Despite Moratorium, Detroit Water Worries Remain Faith Leaders Arrested at DC Deportation Protest Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain CDC Warns Travelers Amid Ebola Outbreak US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Raw: 2 Hurt in NY Trench Collapse House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water
Latest World News
US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire US Warns Against Traveling to Ebola-hit Areas Raw: Deadly Taiwan Gas Leak Explosion Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Today in History for July 31st Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Graphic Video: 15 Killed at Gaza UN School Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Floodwaters Ravage Villages in Romania Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza
Photos of the Week