On July 5, Israel’s Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, warned the Damascus government and Russia that Israel will not tolerate the presence of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the demilitarized zone along the occupied Golan Heights.
“We must verify and do everything to clarify, vis-a-vis the Russians, the Assad government, that we will not accept any armed presence by the Assad regime in the areas which are meant to be demilitarized,” the Reuters agency quoted Erdan as saying during an interview with the Israeli news outlet Ynet.
The Israeli cabinet minister went on and threatened that Israel will conduct airstrikes on the SAA if it tries to enter the demilitarized zone, which was established in 1974 as a result of a Syrian-Israel ceasefire agreement.
“Here, too, if there is a violation, and certainly in the southern Syrian region which is close to the citizens of the State of Israel, and a bringing of weaponry that should not be there, Israel will take action,” Erdan warned.
Last week, the Israel military deployed additional armored and artillery forces, including battle tanks, in the Golan Heights. Furthermore, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called twice for the preservation of the 1974 agreement.
The Israeli PM is expected to discuss the issues of the demilitarized zone with his Russian counterpart Vladimr Putin during his upcoming visit to Moscow on July 11. This will be Netanyahu’s third visit to the Russian capital since the beginning of this year.