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Another Strike in Quneitra, Israel Won’t allow Iran’s Militias to Close On Its Border | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Syrian area of Quneitra is seen in the background as an out-of-commission Israeli tank parks on a hill, near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, in this August 21, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Tel Aviv, Beirut – For the second time in two days, Israel attacked National Defence Forces (NDF) camp in Quneitra, south Syria, killing three members and injuring two others, an NDF official told AFP news agency.

Israeli Army spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the reports of Israeli attack on areas near Quneitra which is on the line of fire between Israel and Syrian Golan Heights. An army spokeswoman told AFP that she was unable to elaborate on how Israel retaliated or to identify any targets that were hit.

The spokesperson later confirmed that the Israeli policy which stipulates that it had set certain red lines known to all. Israel will not allow Iranian militias to get close to its border and will not permit the transfer of weapons from Syria and Iran to Lebanese Hezbollah. In addition, Tel Aviv is adamant not to allow anything to threaten its security.

Founder of Syrian Observatory for Human Right (SOHR) Rami Abdul Rahman told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the site that was targeted may be used by Lebanese Hezbollah as armory.

NDF official told AFP that two fighters were also wounded in the attack on al-Fawwar camp near Quneitra in southwestern Syria, adding that it was unclear whether the damage was inflicted by an air strike or shelling.

Another Syrian source inside the camp told AFP that around 6:00AM local time: “security guards at the camp saw what looked like three fireballs coming towards the camp. Then there were several consecutive blasts because of the explosion of ammunition warehouses” that firefighters worked hard to extinguish.

The source also said that they were “Israeli rockets” but could not specify what kind of missiles may have been used.

National Defence Forces (NDF) known as Golan troop may be trained by Hezbollah, according to Abdul Rahman. It was formed in 2012 and includes some 90,000 fighters across Syria.

Director of Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, Sami Nader considers that the Israeli bombardment of Syria is linked to the new US policy aiming to limit Iranian power in the region.

Nader told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that all recent developments in the region indicate that the US policy has changed. He added that several changes including the bombing of Sheyrat airport, statement of US Minister of Defense James Mattis against the Syrian regime, and the statements issued by King of Jordan Abdallah II all show that there is a plan being prepared, prominently at the southern front.

Nader added that the Israeli attack came as part of the attempts to limit Iran’s control in the region, which is trying to use Hezbollah to infiltrate into the region. However, he stated that there are several intelligence units in the region which could be behind the missiles’ launch.

Military expert, Amir Bahbout believes that the launch of air to ground missile towards Israeli territories is a strategic change that can be clearly referenced in response to the Israeli Army’s preparations.

Bahbout quotes a high ranking military commander saying that Assad regime now has the confidence to fight against Israel and that is why it has shifted its security vision towards his southern enemy-neighbor. The commander added that most of Assad’s military strength is finished and he is trying to reform it with the help of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Bahbout said that Assad used the Sarin gas thinking that the war would soon end in his favor, but in reality it did not. Despite fortifying his power in west of Syria, it is quite difficult for Assad now to gain control over several areas.

Israel depends at this stage on four clear steps to ensure the stability of the situation on its border with Syria and eliminate possible threats which could arise from a civil war in Syria, according to Bahbout.

He stated that four steps which include thwarting any attempt to change the current situation on the border. Over the past two years, Israeli army targeted several Syrian army posts and even managed to destroy several infrastructures and kill soldiers.

Second, the army continues with its system of non-engagement with Russia, while Moscow maintains a hot line open between both armies in case of emergencies. According to a top ranking official, the system is very effective that other countries are resorting to adopting the same policy to prevent any conflicts in case of misunderstanding.

Third, Israeli army encourages the return of international troops to Syria. It believes that international forces in the region are a positive step that could maintain stability in the region. United Nations Emergency Force can be positioned in several monitoring points on the Golan Heights, according to the Israeli official.

And finally, the fourth reason the Israeli official believes is the fact that Syrian civilians continue to receive medical care inside Israeli territory. He stated that thousands of Syrians were treated in Israel since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.