JERUSALEM — Three Syrian tanks entered a demilitarized zone Saturday along the border with the Golan Heights, spurring Israel to file a complaint with the United Nations, Israeli officials said.
Although the tanks did not enter the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israeli officials said the Syrian military presence is restricted from the border area under a U.N.-monitored cease-fire agreement.
Israeli officials said they did not view the tanks as a provocation or an attempt to draw Israel into the fighting in Syria, where an uprising against President Bashar Assad has devolved into a bitter conflict. But the incident, which came as Syrian tanks battled Syrian rebel forces in the area, underscored how the conflict has been spilling over into neighboring nations.
Turkey and Syria have exchanged cross-border artillery fire, and Syria's frontier with Lebanon has been the site of shelling strikes, gun battles and tit-for-tat kidnappings involving factions on both sides of the Syrian conflict. And it's not the first time violence from Syria's war has drifted into the Golan Heights: In September, errant mortar rounds struck the region.