IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot warned in a meeting with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee focusing on the Syrian front on Wednesday that there’s a possibility that the lovely weather of spring will bring with it renewed fighting for control of the Syrian Golan Heights.
An Islamic State-linked armed Salafi terrorist group known as the Jaish Khalid ibn Al-Walid that has been operating in southern Syria has just captured four villages near the apex of the borders of Israel, Jordan and Syria, and the southwestern suburb of Dara’a.
Israeli and Jordanian military brass have been watching this situation very closely; the prospect of a battle with Islamic State on two fronts is not the top preference on anyone’s agenda.
Israeli military officials are hoping “the other side will bring some order to its situation so as to banish foreign forces, and allow for the return of the UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) peacekeepers.
UNDOF was established on 31 May 1974 by Security Council resolution 350 (1974), following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan. Since then, UNDOF has remained in the area to maintain the cease fire between the Israeli and Syrian forces and to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement.
The Jaish Khalid ibn Al-Walid, also known as the Khalid ibn Al-Walid Army, is reportedly run by Palestinian Authority-born jihadist Abu Mohammad al-Maqdisi. The army he leads is comprised of a mashup of his own group in addition to the Army of Jihad (Jaish al-Jihad), Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade and the Islamic Muthanna Movement.
That makeshift army is now in control of the villages of Adwan, Saham al-Jawlan, Jalin and Tasil, according to Ynet. In addition, Dara’a – the capital of Hauran province – has also fallen. At least 104 rebel fighters have died in the clashes, according to the ISIS-run Amaq News Agency.