The Syrian Armed forces under Bashar al-Assad, who are being assisted by Iranian-proxy terror group Hezbollah, continue to move into a Syrian region south of Damascus that is within miles of Israel’s Golan Heights territory.
Bashar al-Assad’s military has been attempting to take back areas from the Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliated group and a Sunni rival of the Islamic State.
Opposition sources believe that the Syrian military’s initiative is aimed at creating a barrier between jihadist groups and the country’s capital of Damascus. “The regime wants to lay down a defence line around Damascus,” said a spokesman for a group that is part of the “Southern Front” opposition, YNet News reports.
“The operations are being led by Hezbollah’s special forces,” said Rami Abdurrahman, who leads an opposition advocacy group called the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “Their aim appears to be to eventually reach areas bordering the occupied Golan and set up a border zone under Hezbollah’s control.”
Hezbollah, which remains based in southern Lebanon but has sworn allegiance to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, has actively assisted Assad’s forces largely due to its alliance with Tehran.
Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who heads Iran’s Quds Force, has reportedly arrived in the area in order to help Syria and Hezbollah regain territory.
Israeli analyst Ehud Yaari told Israel’s Channel 2 News regarding the situation: “A problem is being created there as far as Israel is concerned. If they succeed in pushing the rebels back to our border, I think the last thing Israel wants is another front with Hezbollah.”
The Syrian and Hezbollah forces’ advance into the Golan comes just weeks after a major Israeli airstrike on January 18 that killed multiple Iranian and Hezbollah commanders. Ten days later, a Hezbollah missile strike left two Israeli soldiers dead and many others wounded.