Israel’s army is on alert after deadly clashes with Palestinians who tried to surge onto the Golan Heights from Syria.
Israel claims the protest had President Assad’s blessing, saying he is trying to deflect attention from his own crackdown on the opposition.
“This could not be happening without the acquiescence of the Syrian regime, which has apparently taken a decision to increase tension at the frontier in order to divert attention from the very real problems they face at home,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.
Syria says 23 people were killed and 350 injured when troops opened fire at the Israeli-controlled plateau. Israel contests those figures.
Saying it is “deeply troubled” by events, Washington has urged calm on both sides.
After border violence last month, Sunday’s protest marked the 44th anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Middle East War when Israel captured the Golan Heights.