Sunday, June 10, 2018

Israel Launches Unscheduled Military Exercise On Golan; Thousands Of Reservists Ordered To Report

IDF launches surprise exercise in Golan Heights amid lingering Iran tensions

The military kicked off a surprise exercise in the Golan Heights on Sunday, calling up reservists amid ongoing tensions over Iran’s presence in nearby Syria.
“A short while ago, a large-scale surprise military exercise began in the Golan Heights area,” the army said in a statement.
“In addition, as part of the exercise the system to call up reservists was activated,” the army said.

Participating units were kept in the dark in order to test their reaction and conduct in the case of an actual outbreak of violence.
The Israel Defense Forces said residents and visitors to the area could expect to hear explosions and see “increased traffic of vehicles.”
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iranian-backed forces stationed on the Golan border, including from the Hezbollah terror group, had begun posing as Syrian military units, in a ploy to try to reduce pressure from Israel.
Multiple Syrian rebel commanders told the American newspaper that Lebanese Hezbollah troops and other Iranian-backed militias withdrew from the Daraa and Quneitra provinces in Syria’s southwest near Israel, but later returned dressed in Syrian military uniforms and under the regime flag.
One commander told the paper that the convoys were returning equipped with rockets and missiles.
“It’s a camouflage,” Ahmad Azam, a commander with the rebel Salvation Army, a rebel group based in Quneitra told the Wall Street Journal. “They are leaving… in their Hezbollah uniform and they are returning in regime vehicles and dressed in regular [Syrian] army uniforms.”

Israel launched an unscheduled military exercise on the Golan Sunday, June 10. 

Thousands of army reservists were ordered to report for immediate duty with full gear and come directly from their homes and work places. 

That the sudden IDF announcement did not set a timeline for the exercise’s ending indicated that it was prompted by the Syrian military announcement on the same morning of a major army offensive impending this week in the Quneitra region opposite Israel’s Golan border. The announcement also referred to a twin offensive against the Daraa province on the Jordanian border. The units taking part were named as the Syrian army’s 4th armored division for Quneitra and the “Tiger Force,” backed by 4th division elements, for the Daraa operation.

Israel’s Golan exercise was announced in order to deter the Syrian offensive.

DEBKAfile reported earlier that Bashar Assad ordered his army to go forward this week in the light of the failure of the talks in Helsinki on Friday between the Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s General Staff, to reach agreement on the Syrian question.

Our military sources report that Israel’s armed forces can’t afford to take the chance of leaving the Quneitra front under Syrian military threat. The Damascus announcement omitted to mention its allies. However, according to DEBKAfile’s sources, the Syrian offensive is planned to take place in conjunction with Hizballah forces and the pro-Iranian Shiite Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas militia from Afghanistan, which fights under Revolutionary Guards officers who have already taken up position outside Quneitra.

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