Has the Second Front in the War Already Materialized?

According to the Israeli Defense Forces, an Israeli patrol heard an explosion on the Syrian side of the border late Sunday evening. Upon further investigation, they discovered an exploded mine placed inside a tire that was subsequently set on fire. This incident could be an attempt by unknown parties to draw Syria into the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, or it could be merely an accident. Israel claims the explosion injured no soldiers.

IDF officials suggested that the mine could be an attempt by Hezbollah to encourage Syria to join the fighting, but the border crossing is far from Hezbollah territory and well within a UN buffer zone. On the other hand, Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, warned on Saturday that Washington and Tel Aviv were looking for a “pretext to extend the conflict.” For their part, Syrian troops readied for any potential conflict.

The border at Al Qunaytirah is at the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The area has long been the source of disputes between Israel and Syria as to which country destroyed the now-abandoned city during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War; however, the UN eventually condemned Israel for its actions in the province. Syria has maintained mines in the area as a deterrent to further Israeli incursions, so it is possible that this was merely an older, deteriorating mine suffering a malfunction.

While repeating that they are definitely not trying to involve Syria, the Israelis also promised to target any Syrian vehicles that might be carrying weapons into Lebanon. Any accidental deaths of Syrians entering Lebanon could also be a source of increased tensions at this time.