As before, Assad tried to deflect international attention by sending Palestinians to try to crash the border fence on the Golan Heights, with predictable results that Israel did not allow them to breach the fence.
Warnings broadcast in Arabic went unheeded:
The Israelis fired warning shots, and when even that did not work, shot at the infiltrators:
In a sign of official backing for the protests, the border clashes were broadcast live on Syrian television, with comments from participants, and reporters were permitted direct access to the normally closed frontier zones.Reports are unclear as to casualties. The Syrians are claiming six were killed, but that is not confirmed.
Near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, scores of Palestinians and Syrian supporters who arrived in buses from Damascus streamed down a hillside and marched toward the frontier, carrying Palestinian and Syrian flags and chanting “Palestine is Arab!” and “the Golan is Syrian!”
When the protesters tried to cross a trench and earth berms topped with razor wire, which had been put up by the Israeli military to block their approach, army sharpshooters opened fire at the marchers from a border fence nearly 150 yards away.
The army spokesman said that troops had fired warning shots before shooting at the legs of the demonstrators. The gunfire was accompanied by loudspeaker warnings in Arabic that those who approached the border fence were endangering their lives.
The protesters had to make their way through a mined area to get to the fence, demonstrating Syrian government involvement, if there were any doubt.
Updates: Infiltrators throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops accidentally set off land mines:
A second demonstration was observed on the Syrian border in Kunetra, where 200 to 300 demonstrators amassed. Four land mines exploded in the area after Syrian rioters threw Molotov cocktails at IDF forces. The cocktails exploded in a field, starting a fire which then set off the mines on the Syrian side of the border. The IDF was unaware of the number of casualties caused by the explosions.There was supposed to be a "ceasefire" during which the attempted infiltration and the Israeli response would be halted to give time for the Red Cross to evacuate wounded, but the infiltrators used it as a chance to again attack the border:
IDF forces were sending Arabic-language messages through loudspeakers over the border, warning that anyone approaching the fence would be killed.
Syrian television also reported that demonstrators were attempting to breach the fence at several other points in the Golan Heights, Channel 2 reported.
An IDF ceasefire that was set to last for a half hour was stopped after six minutes when a group of about 10 Syrian protesters climbed the border in an attempt to cut the barbed-wire fence and progress towards the village of Majdal Shams.And the IDF is asserting that the protesters were using Red Cross signs as cover (h/t to a reader):
Following the incident, the IDF renewed fire in order to deter the protesters. The IDF previously agreed to hold its fire in order to allow medical crews to treat and evacuate the injured.
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