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Israel says it will block refugees from Syria: report

Israel's Barak: "If we have to stop waves of refugees we will stop them."

Turkey syria border Enlarge
Syrian refugees in Turkey watch the border from Oncupinar Refugee Camp on April 9, 2012. (IHA/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, today said Israel will not allow Syrian refugees to take refuge in Golan Heights, according to the Associated Press

"If we have to stop waves of refugees we will stop them," Barak said while visiting the Golan area, territory taken by Israel during its 1967 war, reported AP

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The Jerusalem Post said a group of some 15 Syrians showed up at the Israel-central Golan border today, an area that the article noted was being "closely monitored." It was not immediately clear what happened to the group. 

Barak's statement come as the situation in Syria threatens to boil over, with British Prime Minister David Cameron today insisting that President Bashar al-Assad step down to prevent a civil war from breaking out. 

The Associated Press said the warning was made as "[m]ortar shells fell about one kilometer (half a mile) from where Barak stood, and bullets flew as rebels and Syrian army forces skirmished" nearby, a description attributed to Barak's official statement. 

Neighboring countries, particularly Turkey and Jordan, have received tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence. The revolt against Assad's rule began last March and quickly devolved into a protracted, bloody fight between the regime and armed rebel forces.

Syrian activists say the conflict has left some 17,000 people dead. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120719/israel-says-it-will-block-refugees-syr