WASHINGTON — The Syrian civil war spillover effect is widening, and is worrying U.S. officials.
Yesterday, Israeli troops fired back across the Israel-Syria border after gunfire hit some of its military installations along the Golan Heights. An Israeli military vehicle was hit by Syrian gunfire, but there were no injuries reported. Israel reported its soldiers “returned precise fire”.
Reuters reported that there have been repeated incidents of gunfire directed at Israeli targets during the duration of the current civil war. Israel said that this week’s attack was the third consecutive cross-border shooting this week and mentioned that they see these events “with concern”.
Israel has not backed down when these incidents have occurred, firing back at Syrian positions in addition to pre-emptively striking a Syrian military facility when U.S. President Barack Obama waffled on his “red line” for Syrian chemical weapons use. Israel has told the U.S. that they believe Syria is using chemical weapons, but it has not pushed the Obama administration to take action.
Syria’s Assad is backed by Iran and Hezbollah, and Iran has openly announced its support and continues to supply the Assad regime. In a firefight by the Lebanon-Syria border, one of its Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commanders was killed and Iran said he was conducting humanitarian work. Hezbollah hinted at its entrance into the war and recent reports indicate that Hezbollah took heavy casualties close to the Lebanon-Syria border.
Jordan closed a border crossing with Syria and is monitoring the civil war with great care, having to deal with Islamist problems at home but has been bolstered by U.S. troops. Jordan also received the former Syrian prime minister who defected last August, and whose successor barely escaped an assassination attempt this past April. Turkey has supported the Syrian rebels along its border while the U.S. has not actively participated in the civil war.
The U.S. is wary of al-Qaeda elements within the rebel movement, as evidenced by the alliance between al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Iraq.