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.
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The 80-year-old pontiff is due in Cairo around 1400 (1200 GMT) and his 27 hours on Egyptian soil will include a meeting with the grand imam of the Al-Azhar mosque, sealing a recent improvement in relations between Catholicism and the Sunni branch of Islam.
The GCC was formed in the wake of Iran's 1979 revolution and includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
Russia's military said a day after the attack that Syria's air defences would be boosted.
Ayman Nour was a candidate in the 2005 presidential election
Israel has not confirmed or denied an attack on Damascus early on Thursday morning
Houthis, allies yet to comment on reported air attack in southwestern Taiz province
In a report ahead of an international donor conference next week, it said Thursday that foreign aid alone cannot rescue the stagnant Palestinian economy without practical changes and Israeli cooperation.
But his visit comes as Al-Azhar, which runs one of the world's oldest universities, is under fire from critics within Egypt who say the Muslim institution has itself become part of the problem.
A loud explosion has been heard with a fire reported near Damascus airport
Saudi authorities claim to foil attack by Shia Houthi militia in kingdom’s southwestern Jazan region
He said the analysis of samples taken at the scene of the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhun showed "there is no doubt that sarin gas was used".