Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Syrian/Iranian Column Expected To Reach Israel's Golan Border By End Of The Week



Syrian/pro-Iranian column from Daraa heading to Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian border junction



The army column is expected to reach Israel’s southern Golan border by the end of the week. 

On its way north from Daraa on Monday, July 9, this mixed force of Syrian army, Hizballah and Iraqi and Afghan Shiite militias, under Rev Guards Gen. Qassam Soleimani’s command, captured three rebel villages: Kharb al-Shahm, Zaizoun and Tal Shihab. The force’s first objective is the Syrian-Jordanian border and the Yarmouk region held by the ISIS-affiliated Khalid ibn al Walid Army. These extremists are likely to fold quickly under the assault and so, by the end of the week, the column will be free to turn towards the Israeli border along the southern Golan.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, unless Israel takes preventive action in time, this Syrian-Iranian push will link up with other forces to encircle the Quneitra region opposite the Israeli Golan from the east, south and North. Yet no action has been taken, although the new Syrian military advance threatens to deposit Hizballah and pro-Iranian militias – not just opposite the Golan but along the Israeli-Syrian border east of the Sea of Galilee and Hamat Gader.

The Syrian army and its allies are therefore moving ever closer to the Israeli border after their initial thrust, which was first revealed by DEBKAfile on July 9. Bashar Assad has brought his Quneitra operation forward for the purpose of thwarting any accommodations President Vladimir Putin may reach with Binyamin Netanyahu when they talk in Moscow on Wednesday, July 11.


The Syrian army began attacking rebel positions around Quneitra opposite Israel’s Golan border on Monday, July 9. For some hours, Syrian forces have been pounding rebel positions at Nabi Sakhar east of Quneitra with heavy tank and artillery fire as well as Golan 1000 rocket launchers. For now, the rebels hold superior fire power, but are short of manpower for holding the wider region.

It is not clear whether the Syrian forces reached the Quneitra region from Daraa where fighting continues, or from the north. In communiques in the last few hours, the Syrian high command in Damascus claimed the rebels are supported by the IDF. According to the official Syrian news agency SANA, “the jihadist rebels ae currently under the protection of the Israeli Defense Forces” – although no details are offered. There is no official word from Israel.

By setting up this ploy four days before President Vladimir Putin receives Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Moscow on Wednesday, Bashar Assad was giving Moscow due warning that he would play the Quneitra offensive by his own rule book not the Russians.’ It remains to be seen how the Syrian army’s Quneitra operation, launched on Monday, plays out – whether it is restricted to small skirmishes or spreads more widely.


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