Israel says Assad back in charge, Syrian front likely to be quieter

UN peacekeepers return after 4 years to Israel-occupied Golan Heights near Syria

Israel says Assad back in charge, Syrian front likely to be quieter

Israeli Defense Forces said they killed seven Islamic State militants in an attack early Thursday in Syria's Golan Heights area.

United Nations peacekeepers returned Thursday for the first time in years to the frontier between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, conducting joint patrols with Russian military police in a reflection of Moscow's deepening role in mediating between the decades-old foes in the volatile region.

Israel said the group was around 200m (656ft) from an Israeli fence in the zone, delineated by Israel and Syria in 1974.

Israel has been blamed for previous attacks on a suspected Iranian military base in the el-Kisweh area.

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The UN peacekeeping forces first deployed along the frontier in 1974 to separate Syrian and Israeli forces after Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 war.

He said the Russian presence there was temporary, and that the observation posts would be handed over to Syrian regime forces once the situation stabilized. They were believed to be fleeing the Syrian army of President Bashar Assad.

Russian Federation announced Thursday that it would deploy military police and place monitoring posts on the Golan Heights to prevent further confrontations.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian conflict but acknowledges carrying out dozens of airstrikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah.

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That message was conveyed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they met in Moscow last month, a senior Israeli official said.

Israel's military spokesperson, Lt. -Col. He said a preliminary assessment was that the infiltrators were Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

Israeli troops were on "high alert and readiness" following the strike.

Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoi speaks during a news briefing, with a map showing the territory of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria seen in the background, in Moscow, Russia August 2, 2018.

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Gunfire was heard downtown throughout the afternoon, including near the ruling party headquarters where protesters had gathered. More 58 constituencies are yet to be declared, but ZANU-PF only needs 140 seats to the garner the 2/3 majority in Parliament.

Several reports claimed the air strikes were being carried out by "Israeli warplanes" or an "Israeli UAV or fighter jet", aiming at a site belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in western Damascus.

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