IDF Ramps Up Work Along Border with Syria

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The flurry of activity by Israeli Engineering Corps troops along the northern border with Syria has intensified over the past two weeks, the Times of Israel reported on Friday.

With no end in sight to the bloody 18-month-old civil war between Syrian President Bashar Assad's military and opposition forces, and the death toll at least 20,000, the potential for spilling over into Israel is increasing.

IDF Corps Engineering troops are using heavy construction equipment to erect new fencing and dig trenches along the border as quickly as possible. They're also setting up reconnaissance equipment and early-warning systems in preparation for possible conflicts along the border.

According to the IDF website, the Combat Engineering Corps "is responsible for fortification and preparations that must precede a war." These troops "act as an attacking force and not as auxiliary troops."

In the past two years, Syrian activists have attempted to breach the Israeli border during the Palestinian Authority's Naksa and Nakba holidays, both marked with anti-Israel speeches and protest rallies.

Nakba marks the re-establishment of the modern State of Israel on May 14, 1948, as a "catastrophe."

Naksa marks the alleged expulsion of Palestinian Arab populations following the Six Day War, June 5-10, 1967, when Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) were freed from Jordanian occupation.

Jerusalem was reunited under Jewish sovereignty and Israeli forces also captured the Sinai, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights was annexed to Israel in 1981. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in 1979, uprooting more than 7,000 Israelis because Egypt forbade any Jewish presence there.

In August 2005, the Israeli government under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon bulldozed 21 Jewish communities in the Gush Katif Settlement Bloc in northern Gaza and four in northern Samaria.

The Palestinian Authority envisions a state in the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

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