Syrian rebels seize UN border post in Golan Heights

The New York Times reports: Rebels fighting the Syrian government on Thursday seized control of the only border crossing operated by United Nations peacekeeping forces along the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line in the Golan Heights, according to the Israeli military and rebel forces. Israeli forces were placed on alert in the sensitive and disputed area as the violence of the civil war threatened to spill over into Israeli-held territory.

A few hours later the situation remained confused. Israeli media reports said that the Syrian government forces appeared to have retaken the Quneitra crossing and the Syrian state news agency SANA said that a unit of the government forces had “repelled terrorist groups” that had “tried” to take over Quneitra border crossing.

But Ahmad al-Basheer, a member of the local revolutionary committee in the Quneitra area who was reached by Skype, insisted that the crossing was still under the rebels’ control and that the entire province of Quneitra had been “liberated.”

“The regime won’t recapture this crossing even if we all have to die to thwart it,” he added.

As the fighting raged, the Israeli military declared the Israeli side of the crossing a closed military zone and ordered farmers to stay out of fields near the cease-fire line, apparently anticipating more conflict between Syrian government forces and the rebels.

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