Israel intends to declare a buffer zone inside the Syrian border to prevent radical groups from getting too close to its territory when the embattled Damascus regime topples, security sources said on Sunday.
"There's a plan in the military's northern command for the 'day after' according to which, when Bashar Assad is no longer president of Syria, there's a fear that terror elements will try to approach the fence," the sources told AFP.
"So they want to create some sort of buffer zone within Syrian territory, and let everyone know. This is to prevent a situation where terror reaches the fence without us being able to prevent it, by allowing us to see it," the sources explained.
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"This will be a buffer zone belonging to Syria. We are not invading Syrian land," the sources said, stressing these were initial plans, and not providing specifics on how deep into Syrian territory the buffer zone would go.
An Israeli military spokesman would not comment on the plans, but said that new security fence along its armistice line with Syria was almost completed.
In May 2011, Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators from Syria after hundreds breached the old security fence and entered Israel, killing four people and wounding dozens more.
Syria remains formally at war with Israel, which captured part of the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981, a move not recognised by the international community.
The Syrian side of the 1974 armistice line is currently monitored by a 1,200-strong unarmed UN force called UNDOF.