The IDF has put all security forces along the northern border on high alert as a result of intense battles taking place on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, an army spokesperson announced on Thursday.
The announcement came after several incidents in the area in the last two days. On Thursday, 160 Syrian soldiers were captured and executed by ISIS, who published the brutal and gruesome video of the executions.
Also on Thursday, 43 Fijian UN peacekeepers were kidnapped by members belonging to the al-Nursa Front, an al-Qaeda affiliated terror group, near the Quneitra border crossing with Israel. Another 75 peacekeepers, from the Philippines, were trapped in heavy clashes between Syrian troops and the rebels.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, the Philippines military spokesman said in a statement that the Islamist rebels demanded that peacekeepers surrender their firearms, which they refused.
“They did not surrender their firearms as they may in turn be held hostage themselves. This resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation at this time,” Zagala stated.
Fighting near the Quneitra crossing has raged this week and government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and Islamist rebels battle for control of the area. Earlier this week on Wednesday, the rebels took control of the border crossing as part of plans to wrest control of one of Assad’s last southern strongholds.
The battle for Quneitra came after several rockets and mortars were fired into Israel this week. On Wednesday alone, seven mortars landed in the Golan Heights. The IDF has yet to determine whether the mortar fire was intentional or accidental spillover from the fighting in Syria.
One Israeli man and an IDF officer were injured as a result of the mortar fire.