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Israel-Syria Border Becomes Flashpoint

Syria's inability to control its border with Israel has introduced uncertainty and increased chances for the regionalization of Syria's civil war, writes Geoffrey Aronson.
United Nations peacekeepers put on protective gear before driving through the Kuneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria, in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights March 8, 2013. Israel voiced confidence on Thursday that the United Nations could secure the release of U.N. peacekeepers seized by Syrian rebels near the Golan Heights on Wednesday, signalling it would not intervene in the crisis. Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized int

The destruction of Syria continues apace. The regime has lost the ability to monopolize the use of force within the state and its control of Syria's land borders is no longer uncontested. This loss of control is perhaps most ominously the case on the cease-fire line separating Israeli and Syrian forces — those belonging to the regime and the multifaceted opposition alike — on the Golan frontier.

Unlike Syria's borders with Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, there is no agreed-upon border between Israel and Syria, whose military forces are instead deployed along a cease-fire line established in the wake of the October 1973 war that ended with Israeli forces occupying sovereign Syrian territory in the Golan Heights. The United Nations disengagement and observer force (UNDOF) was established in June 1974 to observe the cease-fire and supervise the disengagement agreement.

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