Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Keeper of the Burning Border: 4 Years at the Only Israel-Syria Border Crossing

The Keeper of the Burning Border: 4 Years at the Only Israel-Syria Border Crossing

For nearly 40 years, the Quneitra crossing on the Israeli-Syrian border was a quiet point on the map, mainly known as a crossing for the commercial apple trade between Druze villages in the Golan Heights. Today the strategic crossing has come under fire as a result of the escalating violence of Syria’s civil war. The outgoing commander of the Israeli side of the crossing talks about the changes that have taken place at Quneitra over the past four years.
 
On a bright summer’s morning in June, Major Adham Ra’ad, commander of the Quneitra Crossing on the Israeli border with Syria in the Golan Heights, woke up to the sound of heavy gunfire. A group of rebels had managed to storm and take control of the Syrian side of the strategic crossing, and to rout the Assad forces who had been in control of the crossing since its establishment. However, like all recent matters concerning Syria, stability was not forthcoming; six hours after the rebels took the crossing, Assad forces returned with heavy fire and took back control. The clashes, just hundreds of meters from the Israeli border, though posing no threat to Israeli forces, did make clear the great strategic importance of the area.

After nearly 4 decades of quiet: A change in the security approach

Quneitra is the only border crossing between Israel and Syria. It was opened under the supervision of UN forces in 1974 following the Yom Kippur War. A border crossing between enemy states is no simple matter, as the outgoing commander explained.
 
“The crossing became active in serving the civilian populations and merchants between the two enemy nations, and operated in that format until 2011, when the upheaval in Syria began,” Maj. Ra’ad explained.
 
Major Adham Ra’ad commander of the Quneitra Crossing
Major Adham Ra’ad, commander of the Quneitra Crossing

Read more at: http://www.idfblog.com/2013/10/01/keeper-burning-border-4-years-israel-syria-border-crossing/

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