The United Nations is set to provide Syrian identity certificates to shepherds, farmers and hunters living or operating in the demilitarised zone along the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line near the occupied Golan Heights, in an effort to distinguish them from militants.
In coordination with Israel, the provision of Syrian IDs is intended to enable Israeli forces along the border fence to easily identify those approaching it or in close proximity to it. It comes after a series of incidents in recent months when Israeli occupation forces either opened fire on suspicious figures or crossed the ceasefire line, the latter of which took place seven times since August.
READ: Throwing rocks, Israel settlers vandalise Palestinian school
The latest firing case occurred in September when four individuals reportedly threw explosive charges from the Syrian side of the fence. Israeli forces then shot one of them and injured him, before taking him to Israel for medical treatment.
In a separate incident, Israeli troops crossed the border fence and detained a man who they later found to be an unarmed shepherd. With such cases of mistaken identity reportedly often occurring, Israeli occupation forces expressed their concerns for the safety of their military personnel to the UN.
Consequently, the UN's Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) – tasked with monitoring activity along the ceasefire line in the aftermath of the 1973 war – will provide the civilians in the area with Syrian IDs.
READ: Israel forces shoot shepherd for allegedly crossing Blue Line from Lebanon