UN chief urges Israel, Syria to de-escalate tensions

United States, Aug 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, concerned over the serious violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria, has urged them to de-escalate the situation, an official statement said on Saturday.

Various media reports said rockets were fired on Thursday across the ceasefire line into Israel, landing in the vicinity of Qiryat Shmona, in response to shootings by the Israel defence forces across the ceasefire line, with projectiles impacting in the vicinity of Syrian Arab Armed Forces positions near Al Baath and Khan Arnabeh, the statement said.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) immediately contacted both the Israel defence forces and the Syrian Arab armed forces to de-escalate the situation, which is currently quiet, Xinhua news agency reported.

The secretary-general called on all involved to exercise maximum restraint to prevent any further escalation in an already-tense regional environment, it said.

According to media reports, after rockets hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Israeli military responded with airstrikes at Syrian targets starting Thursday.

Syrian media reported that on Friday, the second day of Israeli airstrikes, Israeli forces struck a car in a Syrian-controlled area of the Golan Heights, killing five civilians.

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