Heavy fighting at Israel-Syria border town

By Elliot Miller, June 6, 2013

Fierce fighting has taken place on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

The town of Quneitra was reportedly siezed by the rebel Free Syrian Army earlier this morning. However, subsequent IDF reports say that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have now retaken it.

According to Haaretz, eyewitnesses in Quneitra reported a heavy exchange of fire and smoke rising from the area. The crossing on the Syrian side of the border was badly damaged, they said.

The BBC later confirmed that Assad had retaken the strategic town close to the disengagement point with Israel.

Israeli military sources claimed: “The Syrian army has taken control of an UN-monitored crossing in the Golan Heights which had been overrun by rebel forces.”

The UN peacekeeping force which normally patrols the demilitarised zone was said to be following developments closely.

Israel has reportedly complained to the UN over the presence of the Syrian army on the border.

The fighting marks an unprecedented escalation along the Syria-Israel border.

According to Britain, France and a recent UN report, the nerve gas Sarin has been used by both sides in the Syrian conflict.

The news comes just days after pro-Assad forces seized the strategic town of Quasir, near the Lebanon border. The victory has deeply weakened the rebel position and delayed the chance of a potential peace conference.

Last updated: 4:33pm, June 6 2013