JERUSALEM –- Three Syrian tanks entered a demilitarized zone Saturday afternoon along the border with the Golan Heights, spurring Israel to file a complaint with the United Nations, Israeli officials said.
Although the tanks did not enter the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel officials said the Syrian military presence is restricted from the border area under a U.N.-monitored cease-fire agreement.
The Syrian tanks were battling Syrian rebel forces when the fighting moved into the demilitarized area, Israeli media reported.
Israeli officials said they did not view the tanks as a provocation or an attempt to draw Israel into the fighting in Syria, where an uprising against President Bashar Assad has devolved into a civil war.
It’s not the first time violence from Syria’s war has drifted into the Golan Heights. In September, errant mortars struck the region.
Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East War and announced in 1981 that it was annexing the region, though the move was not recognized by the international community.
-- Edmund Sanders