By JODI RUDORENNOV
MOUNT AVITAL MILITARY BASE, Golan Heights — As Israel has heightened its presence in the Golan Heights with a new army division, the division’s commander said Wednesday that he had counted 15 intentional attacks from across the once-quiet Syrian frontier since March, most of them attributed to two “proxy groups,” which are supported by Hezbollah and Iran.
The commander, Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris, said the attacks — including the firing of rockets and the placement of roadside bombs near the border fence — are more nuisance than serious threat. There have also been about 100 instances since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011 in which Syrian Army ordnance has landed on the Israeli side of the fence. General Buchris said that Israel considered that unintentional “spillover.”
But military officials say rebel groups like Jabhat al-Nusra now control the Syrian side of the 43-mile cease-fire line except for one Druse village. General Buchris said he was confident that for now neither the rebels nor President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia assisting him, were interested in engaging Israel, but “we assume that sooner or later” that would change.
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