Posts Tagged ‘Golan Heights’
The Syrian Al-Etihad Press Network reports that Iranian military reinforcements have moved into Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, which is alongside the border of Israel.
The report says the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are replacing Syrian regime soldiers who had been manning positions in Quneitra.
The Iranian troops will supposedly be heading southward to the city of Daraa, along Jordan’s border. But first, they may attack the Syrian rebel forces on the Golan Heights.
Israel has previously stated that Iranian troops along its borders is a red line that it won’t accept.Jewish Press News Briefs
Russian efforts to reach a truce between the President Bashar al-Assad regime and the various rebel groups in Syria appear to be close to a successful resolution, and so Israel is already preparing for the day after the final truce, when it is safe to expect that Jihadist fire would be turned south, at the “Zionist enemy.” According to Israeli media reports, the northern Golani Brigade ran a series of exercises last week in the Golan Heights and near the Lebanese border, in preparation for war with ISIS and Hezbollah — two sworn enemies in the civil war.
Despite a string of minor breaches, the IDF has traditionally viewed the Syrian border as stable, although it makes certain to retaliate for every violation of Israeli sovereignty, no matter how minor. Over the past two years, each time an errant shell landed in an open field on Israel’s side of the border, it was followed by a barrage of Israeli artillery at the source — which is why those slights have been kept down. So far, neither the Islamist militias nor certainly the Syrian army have been interested in provoking the IDF.
But Northern Command Chief Gen. Aviv Kochavi is directing his troops’ training programs to prepare for Jihadist attacks using machine guns, anti-tank rockets, and mortars, as well as attempts to penetrate the border. Last week’s training exercise in Golani dealt with just such scenarios, involving coordinated invasion attempts by the Jihadist groups in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. One entire battalion, according to reports, took on the role of the local civilian Arab population, in an attempt to isolate them from the fighting.
The maneuver emphasized profuse use of megaphones by IDF commanders who speak Arabic, to warn Arab civilians about IDF activity against the rebel groups, encouraging them to keep away from those groups. In most cases, the IDF does not regard local Arab villagers in south Syria and Lebanon as necessarily hostile. Many local civilians who had been injured during the fighting were evacuated to Israeli hospitals to receive treatment, which, hopefully, established a positive rapport between the villagers and Israel.
Still, the IDF has no illusions about the Hezbollah being able to divert its forces from the Syrian campaign to the Israeli border following a truce, which is why last week’s training maneuvers also included a refresher course on fighting in dense, urban populations, including vertical fighting inside high rise buildings, resembling the conditions in the Hezbollah dominated coastal Lebanese cities..
Part of the IDF new thinking about the post-Syrian truce reality focuses on logistics, with the assumption the should a war break out with Lebanon and possibly with Syria, the IDF is likely to penetrate much deeper into enemy territory than it did in the second Lebanon war. Effective distribution of food, ammunition, equipment and fuel, as well as rescue operations, will necessarily have to reach as far into the same territory as the fighting forces, which will require a high level of cooperation among land and air troops.JNi.Media
A Kuwaiti news website on Friday cited a source saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received a message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in which Assad vowed to keep the Golan as a demilitarized zone, and the rest of Syria committed to a cease-fire with Israel, if Netanyahu commits to not engaging Israel in an effort to topple Assad.
The source commented that Assad was saying to Netanyahu, in effect: “Help me to control my region and I guarantee calm for Israel in the Golan Heights.”
Commenting on rumors that former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk is slated to be President Hillary Clinton’s special envoy on the peace process between Israel and its neighbors, the source told the news website that Israel is very concerned over a report that was prepared by Indyk for President Bill Clinton about the Golan Heights. Israel is anxious to point US attention to the fact that the situation on south Syria and south Lebanon has been altered by the five-year civil war, and American notions about returning the Golan to Syria are absurd under these circumstances. Assad apparently wishes to take advantage of an opportunity to strike a deal with the Israelis to secure their neutrality in the war.
Meanwhile, Politico.eu reported Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said his country is offering Russia access to the Gulf Cooperation Council Market and regional investment funds in return for pulling its support for the Assad regime.
“We are ready to give Russia a stake in the Middle East that will make Russia a force stronger than the Soviet Union, greater than China’s,” the Saudi minister said, adding, “It would be reasonable for Russia to say, that’s where our relations will advance our interests, not with Assad. We don’t disagree on the end game in Syria but on how to get there. Assad’s days are numbered,” he urged, “so make a deal while you can.”JNi.Media
The leader of Syrian rebel organization Jabhat a-Nusra, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, on Thursday announced the severing of his group’s ties to Al Qaeda. In his first video broadcast, which was later carried by Al Jazeera, Al-Julani said that his organization will now be named Fatah al-Sham, and will have no outside affiliations. He explained that the move was a measure to enhance unity in the ranks, and thanked Al Qaeda for supporting his move.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced founder and original CEO Osama bin Laden, gave his blessings to the move in an audio cassette. Jabhat a-Nusra, the largest rebel army in Syria, operated from its inception as an offshoot of Al Qaeda.
Al-Julani told the Al Jazeera audience that the move was “a response to the wishes of the people of al-Sham (Syria), to remove a possible excuse the Russians and the Americans might use in bombing and expelling the Muslims of Syria under the guise of fighting Jabhat a-Nusra, over its loyalty to Al Qaeda.
Abu Mohammad al-Julani is the nom de guerre of this mysterious man, whose real name is only known to the Al Qaeda leadership. The name is a reference to the Golan Heights, which Israel liberated from Syria in the 1967 war. Back in 2013, Syrian state television reported that al-Julani had been killed near Latakia, but a year later he released an audio statement in which he promised to fight the “United States and its allies” and urged his men not to accept help from the West in their battle against ISIS — so the Syrian state-run news agency SANA withdrew its report of his demise.
He is commonly known as “al-Sheikh al-Fateh” — the Conqueror Sheikh. In October 2015, al-Julani called for indiscriminate attacks on Alawite villages in Syria (the Alawite is an offshoot Islamic sect, to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs), saying, “There is no choice but to escalate the battle and to target Alawite towns and villages in Latakia.”JNi.Media
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror guerrilla organization that Israel will deal a “powerful response” if forced to respond to aggression from the group.
The prime minister made the remark at a ceremony held in Jerusalem Tuesday to mark the tenth anniversary of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Netanyahu expressed empathy for the families of the soldiers who were killed in the war, and he warned Hezbollah it will face an “iron fist” if the group attacks Israel again.
The previous war was launched with a cross-border raid in which terrorists from the group attacked an IDF patrol that was traveling along Israel’s northern border.
Two Israeli reservists were abducted that day and both were murdered. It took years and a German negotiator plus a prisoner swap with a hundred-plus dead terrorists and a handful of live terror inmates to get the Israeli reservists’ bodies back for burial by their families.
Among the terrorists traded to Hezbollah was child-killer Samir Kuntar, who later commanded Hezbollah terror forces in the Syrian Golan Heights.Hana Levi Julian
by Tzvi Lev / TPS Hundreds of mourners thronged the funeral of IDF Sergeant Shlomo Rindenow, a lone soldier from New Jersey who died in an accident involving a grenade at his base in the Golan Heights on Sunday.
“Today is a day of mourning for us, for the family, for the army, and for the entire Jewish people everywhere,” said his brother, Jeff Rindenow, at the funeral service.
Rindenow, 20, from New Jersey and First Sergeant Husam Tafesh, 24, from Beit Jan, were killed when Tafesh’s grenade accidentally exploded. Three other soldiers were wounded in the blast, with one remaining in serious condition. It is still unclear why the grenade detonated, and the IDF is investigating the incident.
The service was held at the synagogue in Netzer Hazani, where Shlomo Rindenow’s brother resides. Shlomo Rindenow lived in Kibbutz Sde Yoav.
Rindenow was the fifth of his brothers to volunteer in the IDF as a lone soldier, a term used in Israel to describe those serving without any family in Israel, and his death has shaken the lone soldier community.
“It’s devastating,” said Mordy Botnick, founder of the lone-soldier-support organization Chayal El Chayal. “It has been happening way too much. Five lone soldiers have died in the past two years alone.”
Botnick was referring to lone soldiers Sean Carmeli, Max Steinberg, and Jordan Ben Simon, who were killed fighting in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Another soldier, David Gordon, died soon after.
Rindenow was remembered by friends and family as someone who was always smiling and never stopped trying to help others. “Prior to enlistment, Shlomo worked as a dog handler for a search-and-rescue unit. He always wanted to assist others.”TPS / Tazpit News Agency