President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian army has recaptured the Golan Heights crossing—the only crossing on the ceasefire border with Israel—in a setback for rebels, only one day after rebel forces had been forced out of the strategic town of Qusayr, AFP reports.
The capture of the town Qusayr, after weeks of bloody battles, leaves President Assad in a much improved position before a U.S.-Russia plan for direct peace talks with his opposition.
The rebels had been in control of the Quneitra Golan crossing for one day, flexing their muscles in this strategically as well as symbolically important spot, so close to IDF forces and also a short ride to Damascus. But that didn’t last long, and they were forced out.
An AFP correspondent said he could see tanks inside the area after Assad’s troops moved back in Thursday.
Both the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Israeli army radio reported fierce fighting in Quneitra. Two peacekeepers, from India and the Philippines, suffered “minor injuries” in shelling, a UN peacekeeping spokesman said.
The clashes took place in very close proximity to the headquarters of a UN peacekeeping force, prompting Austria to announce it was bringing its troops home.