In online video, Syrian rebels operating near Israeli border criticize
Assad regime for not fighting Israel in recent decades • Israel: The
‘Somalization’ of Syria is a great concern • Red Cross told Israel:
Syrian refugees refused aid from Jewish state.
operating in the region near the border with Israel threatened on Sunday
to fight to regain the Golan Heights from Israel following the toppling
of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In a video published online, a rebel fighter,
filmed against the backdrop of the Golan Heights, said "we are in the
occupied Golan Heights, which the traitor Hafez Assad sold to Israel 40
years ago. These lands are blessed and the despicable Assad family
promised to liberate them, but for 40 years the Syrian army did not fire
a single bullet. We will open a military campaign against Israel. We
will fire the bullets that Assad did not and we will liberate the
The Israel-Syria border has been mostly quiet since 1974.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry has
voiced his concerns about the potential for radical Sunni elements to
take power in a post-Assad Syria.
"There is a great concern that uncontrolled
elements at the service of extremist ideas will manage to take over
smaller or bigger separate territories inside the Syrian borders,” Yigal
Palmor told the Turkish Hürriyet Daily News in an interview in
"The ‘Somalization’ of Syria is a great
concern. We hope that this war ends as quickly as possible, with a
central power emerging that will rule all Syria,” he said.
"We don’t have any pretext to [militarily]
intervene in what is going on in Syria. Nobody wants us to do that and
we don’t want to do that. We stay on the sidelines, except where our
vital security interests are threatened. We reserve our right to limited
intervention," Palmor said.
In the interview with the Turkish newspaper,
Palmor revealed that Israel had coordinated with the Red Cross to send
humanitarian aid into Syria, but Israel was told that the refugees
refused to receive aid from Israel. Private aid organizations in Israel
are already working with Jordan for human assistance to Syrian refugees,
Palmor said, adding, "this shows that the Israeli public wants to help
Syrians no matter what politics dictates."
In July 2012, Israel Defense Forces Director
of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi warned that global
jihadists have moved into Syrian territory bordering the Golan Heights
and could soon use the area to stage attacks on Israel. In a briefing to
the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Kochavi said that
Islamic terrorists have taken advantage of the chaos created by the
Syrian civil war to approach the Golan area. Kochavi told lawmakers that
a power vacuum has created a possible arena in the Golan Heights for
anti-Israel operations, similar to what was happening in Egypt's Sinai
region, where the government in Cairo is finding it hard to impose its
authority on the desert peninsula.
"The Golan area is liable to become an arena
of operations against Israel in much the same way the Sinai is today,
and that's a result of the increasing entrenchment of global jihad in
Syria," he said.
In Dec. 2012 a senior Israeli intelligence
official told Channel 2 TV that global jihad groups have been preparing
near the border with Israel, and are "stockpiling huge amounts of lethal
weapons for a fight with Israel."
"The main problem is not the local rebel
groups but fighters coming from outside Syria. Hundreds of fighters have
begun streaming into Syria from Jordan and Iraq. They come from
countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, and many other countries.
We're talking about very dangerous people with experience fighting the
U.S. army in Iraq as well as fighting the regime in Libya. We estimate
that there are between 3,000 to 4,000 rebel fighters belonging to
radical Salafist groups who all belong under the al-Qaida umbrella," the
"We expect these rebels to stockpile a large
amount of rockets, a situation which will return the northern Israeli
communities into the line of fire. We assess that once the foreign
rebels have finished fighting Assad's army they will all turn their
attention to the border with Israel. There is no question about it. Once
the Assad regime falls, we will start seeing incidents on our border. I
assess that it will start with a trickle of incidents, like we see on
the Egyptian border, and further down the line we'll start seeing the
firing of anti-tank missiles at IDF vehicles, roadside bombs against
patrols, and these are only the incidents I can reveal. I believe we
will see much worse things," the official said.
Meanwhile, the German Der Spiegel magazine
reported on Sunday that the United States is secretly providing military
training in Jordan to Syrian rebels. According to the report, some 200
rebel fighters have already received training in recent months and there
are future plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian
Army at two camps in southern and eastern Jordan. The U.S. State
Department declined to comment on the report.
Arab media on Sunday reported fierce, ongoing
battles between rebels and the Syrian military throughout the country.
More than 150 people were reportedly killed over the past day.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio
Guterres warned on Sunday that there could be three million Syrian
refugees by the end of 2013, if the violence in the country continues.
According to reports on Al-Arabiya and
Al-Jazeera, Free Syrian Army fighters captured a Syrian military aerial
defense base in the Deir el-Zour region of northeastern Syria near the
Iraqi border. Rebels flaunted a large cache of anti-aircraft missiles
taken from the base and accused the Iraqi military of helping Assad's
Also on Sunday, the deputy head of Hezbollah,
Sheikh Naim Qassem, said in an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper that
the Assad regime has the situation under control in Syria and is close
to subduing the rebels.
Qassem denied reports that he was recently injured in a Syrian rebel ambush of a convoy travelling from Beirut to Damascus.
Qassem also warned Israel not to attack Lebanon, saying,
"the Israelis grossly violate Lebanese sovereignty and penetrate
Lebanon via the air, sea and land. We reserve the right to respond to
any Israeli action in Lebanon as we see fit."
|Liveleak on Facebook|