Israeli Merkava main battle tank spotted at the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights, a rocky plateau in south-western Syria, has a political and strategic significance which belies its size.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War. Most of the Syrian Arab inhabitants fled the area during the conflict.
Both countries signed an armistice in 1974 and a UN observer force has been in place on the ceasefire line since 1974.
Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. The move was not recognised internationally.
The heights give Israel an excellent vantage point for monitoring Syrian movements. The topography provides a natural buffer against any military thrust from Syria.
The area is also a key source of water for an arid region. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment feeds into the Jordan River. The area provides a third of Israel’s water supply.
The land is fertile, with the volcanic soil being used to cultivate vineyards and orchards and to raise cattle. The Golan is also home to Israel’s only ski resort.
To send troops to the Golan Heights, Israel has violated the agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria.
رصد دبابة ميركافا للجيش الاسرائيلي داخل الشريط الحدودي في مرتفعات الجولان المحتل والقيام بالحفر داخل الأراضي السورية pic.twitter.com/tFTF8oTR0w
— Military affairs (@Militaryaffair7) 12 июля 2016 г.