World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel will block any influx of Syrian refugees into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday as Syrian rebels pressed home a campaign to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
"They (refugees) have not chosen to come close to us, but in the event of the regime's downfall, which could happen..., (Israeli forces) here are alert and ready, and if we have to stop waves of refugees, we will stop them," Barak said while gazing across the frontier, fighting visible in the distance.
Some two km (1.2 mile) away, smoke from mortar shells could be seen billowing over the Syrian village of Jubata and gunfire was heard as Syrian insurgents kept up pressure in a 16-month-old revolt against Assad.
Israel occupied the Golan in 1981, a move condemned internationally.
Turkey, which stretches along Syria's northern border, has given shelter to more than 40,000 Syrians since March 2011.