IDF Views Threats to Israel from Southern Syria

(Israel Hayom) Yoav Limor - The Syrian army has retaken all of the southern part of the country, including the Syrian Golan Heights, but a variety of hostile entities are still active there. Recent reports say that Iran and Hizbullah are involved in open and secret activity on the Golan as part of their efforts to set up an additional front against Israel. The commander of the Golan (Bashan) Division, Brig.-Gen. Amit Fisher, told Israel Hayom, "As a first stage, they are collecting intelligence. They have dozens of outposts that look toward Israel. In the second stage, they will try and build up operational capabilities here. Only recently, we exposed their secret 'Golan file,' [a Hizbullah unit] devoted to precisely that: attempts to take what it knows how to do - anti-aircraft, sniping, bombs - and bring that to the Golan Heights." "Hizbullah doesn't want to take immediate action. It has time. It wants quiet to build up its capabilities, enlist cells built on local residents and its contacts with the Syrian army." "The 'Golan file' is an Iranian name. Iran has a command center in Syria, and representatives in Lebanon, and its ties to Hizbullah are very close. What they [the Iranians] are doing, very cleverly, is drawing their forces back to a distance of 80 km. (50 miles) from the border, like Israel wanted, but sending Hizbullah to be its vanguard." In addition, "There are Shiite militias to the east and north of Damascus. They are the ones that fired on us in May 2018, and toward Mt. Hermon in January - a heavy missile that we luckily intercepted, but it could have ended differently....To pose a threat to us, they don't need to be on the Golan Heights, they just need to be a few dozen kilometers away." Today, the poor, neglected residents of southern Syria are seeking solutions after years of living off Israeli aid. Some of these solutions come from Iran, which is investing in civilian projects, and - as part of its efforts to gain a foothold in the region - trying to convert the locals from Sunni to Shia Islam. Fisher says the Syrian government is keeping its promise not to harm the rebels or even those who sought aid from Israel.

2019-05-02 00:00:00

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