A Merkava battle tank of the Israeli military crossed the separation line in southern Syrian governroate of al-Quneitra then entered the U.N. controlled demilitarized zone on May 1.
The Russian news agency Sputnik said that units of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) surrounded the Israeli tank to prevent any further escalation.
“The area to which the Israeli force has advanced within the demilitarized zone is a special area of the UNDOF within the red line,” a source in the U.N. told the Russian agency.
From its side, the SAA established a closed military zone in the area where the violation took place, which is known as Bauabat al-Shuhar. Several army units close to the area were reportedly put on high alert.
The demilitarized zone was established in the southern part of al-Quneitra by the U.N. in 1974 under the Agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria. Last year, units of the Russian Military Police joined the UNDOF in the zone following the liberation of the area from terrorist groups.
U.N. sources told Sputnik that the Israeli tank was likely covering engineer units working to close an illegal route, which was opened by the Israeli military and terrorist groups in the early years of the conflict. According to the sources, the route was used to ship weapons and supplies to terrorist groups in Syria and to transport injured militants to Israeli hospitals.
While these claims have not been confirmed yet, Israel had indeed armed and supported armed groups in the southern part of Syria for years, according to several previous reports.