Armed forces chief Benny Gantz said on Sunday the Syria conflict could become Israeli business, as fighting between regime forces and rebels raged near Israeli positions on the strategic Golan Heights.
“This is a Syrian affair that could turn into our affair,” the army’s website quoted him as saying during a visit to troops on the frontier. It added that he told the soldiers to be alert, but did not elaborate further.
The site quoted chief military spokesman Yoav Mordechai, who accompanied Gantz, as saying Israeli soldiers could hear the sounds of battle between the warring forces in Syria.
“Across the border there are sounds of tank and light weapons fire,” he said, adding that Israeli forces were “ready at any moment for the fire to change direction and turn on us.”
Israel on Saturday lodged a complaint with United Nations monitors after three Syrian tanks entered a demilitarized zone on the heights, which separates the two sides.
Israeli media said the tanks entered the village of Beer Ajam, southeast of Quneitra, to fight rebels.
Public radio said the military raised its state of alert in the area as a result.
Syria remains formally at war with Israel, which captured part of the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move the international community does not recognize.
Since a 1974 disengagement agreement between the two countries, a 1,200-strong unarmed U.N. force has patrolled a buffer zone on the heights.
In July, Israel complained to the U.N. after Syrian soldiers entered the zone in violation of the agreement.