Protesters by the Israeli-Syrian border last year.
Protesters by the Israeli-Syrian border last year. Photo by Gil Eliyahu
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Yaron Kaminsky
On Mount Hermon, in the winter. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky

A group of some 30 Syrian citizens assembled on Wednesday afternoon a few hundred feet from the Israeli border, east of Mt. Hermon. According to the Israel Defense forces, some of these Syrians were armed with small arms and their intentions were unclear.

In response to this threat, the IDF evacuated tourists visiting Israel's highest mountain. An IDF spokesperson said that the army was monitoring the group and evacuated the people on the mountain-top tourist site so as to "not take any chances."

With the continued strife in Syria in mind, the IDF recently began fortifying the border fence separating the two countries in the Golan Heights. Over the last few days, preliminary work has begun, mostly consisting of heavy construction equipment being positioned along the border. The Israeli military said that over 90 percent of the fence, approximately 80 miles long, was erected following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which is why it requires serious repair so that it can meet the challenges of the day.

The IDF's Northern Command's main fear is of a terror attack where terrorists manage to cross the border and attack civilians in one of the towns in the Golan Heights or soldiers in one of the military bases in the area. The IDF believes that the deterioration in Syria will lead to a rise in terrorist activity in the sector.

The IDF is also worried of a reoccurrence of the events of last year's Naksa Day in June, which resulted in the death of 22 protesters and the injuring of 325, when hundreds of Palestinian Syrians tried to cross the border in protest.