Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot a Syrian attempting to cross the Syrian-Israeli border fence south of the Golan Heights Saturday, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Following the shooting, other Syrians moved the man from the scene to tend to his wounds.
IDF regulations consider attempts to cross the border a “disrupt[ion of] security institutions” and a violation Israeli sovereignty, according to Haaretz.
Security issues within Syria have kept the IDF vigilant along the border recently, where security measures have been significantly increased, especially last week.
However, Israel isn’t the only Syrian neighbour feeling the impact of the Syrian uprising. Forty-eight Iranians were abducted by gunmen in the Syrian capital Damascus Saturday.
Iranian state-run news agency IRNA claimed the abducted are pilgrims visiting the Shi’a shrine of Sayyida Zainab, whereas Al-Arabeya TV quoted rebels on Sunday claiming some of those abducted were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The kidnapping was the latest and largest following at least two previous kidnappings of Iranian nationals that have taken place since the start of the Syrian uprising. The abductions are motivated by the rebels’ belief that Iran is sending troops to aid Al-Assad’s forces.
To obtain the release of its abducted citizens, Iran has turned to Turkey and Qatar for help on account of their good relations with the Syrian rebels, according to IRNA.
“Negotiations with parties inside or outside Syria are not open yet before we confirm the identity of the Iranians and prove that Iran is active on Syrian lands with its soldiers and arms,” Captain Abdel Nasser al-Shumair, commander of the al-Baraa Brigade of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), told Al-Arabeya TV.
Both Turkey and Qatar agreed to provide Iran with assistance.
Meanwhile, a female FSA fighter, Thwaiba Kanafani, claims to have received military training in Turkey, according to a BBC report. According to Kanafani’s account to the BBC news, the Turkish military is providing training for Syrians – especially the FSA – at secret camps.
Similar accusations of providing military aid to Syrian rebels have also been leveled at Saudi Arabia and Qatar. All three countries deny such allegations.
In contrast, President Bashar Al-Assad is openly receiving assistance from his few remaining allies. An oil deal was reached between Syria and Russia on Friday, following a Syrian delegation’s visit to Moscow.
According to Reuters, the deal involves exchanging Syrian crude oil with refined Russian crude products, which the regime needs to continue fighting against the Syrian rebels.
The deal alleviates some of the pressure on Al-Assad’s regime imposed by European Union sanctions banning the import of Syrian oil by European companies.