Washington: The United States said on Sunday it is “deeply troubled” over clashes on the Syrian border with Israel that reportedly resulted in 14 deaths, and called for calm on both sides.
Israeli troops opened fire as protesters from Syria on Sunday stormed a ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights.
“We are deeply troubled by events that took place earlier today in the Golan Heights resulting in injuries and the loss of life,” the State Department said in a statement.
“We call for all sides to exercise restraint. Provocative actions like this should be avoided.”
The US statement emphasised that “Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself”.
Hundreds of protesters rushed towards the ceasefire line on Sunday, cutting through barbed wire as they tried to enter the Golan Heights in a repeat of demonstrations last month that saw thousands mass along Israel’s north.
Syrian state media reported that 14 people were killed, including a woman and child, and more than 220 wounded. The Israeli military said it was aware of 12 casualties.
“Despite numerous warnings, both verbal and later warning shots in the air, dozens of Syrians continue to approach the border and IDF (Israel Defence Forces) forces were left with no choice but to open fire towards the feet of protesters in efforts to deter further actions,” an Israeli Army spokesman said.