Islamic State Threat to Israeli Golan Looms Large

In this handout image provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with soldiers October 15, 2013 in the Israeli-occupied territory of Golan Heights.
Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

The Jerusalem Post reports: In November 2016, Israel and an Islamic State affiliate that controls territory on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights engaged in a brief battle.

After coming under small arms and mortar fire, Israel responded with an air strike that killed four members of the ISIS group, which goes by the local name of the “Army of Khalid bin al-Walid” (JKW). Since then, that part of the Golan border has been quiet. However, with the southwestern Syrian cease-fire in force and with ISIS almost defeated in the rest of Syria, it seems a matter of time until ISIS on the Golan will be in the spotlight again.

According to Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum and at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs, the ISIS affiliate on the Golan was formed in May 2016 in a merger with other Syrian rebel and jihadist groups. Because the group formed along the Syrian side of the Golan in a triangle of landscape – bordered by the Ruqqad river on the Israeli side, the Yarmouk on the Jordanian side and Syrian rebels on the third side of its border – it was isolated from the rest of the Syrian conflict.

Read more here.

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