A large Syrian army/Hizballah force is massing at Izra in the southern Daraa region poised to fight through to the Jordanian border and come within reach of Quneitra. This is reported by DEBKAfile’s military sources. The big Izra base also houses the Iranian command for eastern Syria. Bashar Assad has freed up substantial military strength for his drive to capture the south after beating back rebel forces from the Damascus area and proclaiming it under his control. The strength piling up at Izra consists of elements of the 4th Armored Division, as well as the 5th, 7th and 9th Divisions, paired with Hizballah reinforcements. They are armed with fresh Russian arms deliveries of Golan 1000 missile launchers and the new version of the Kornet D anti-tank missiles which can hit targets within a range of 8-9 km.
Our sources report that these units are preparing to drive south, knock over the rebel militias holding positions in the southeast and break through to the Syrian-Jordanian border crossing at Nasib. This is not the Syrian army’s first expedition with this goal, but hitherto they were pushed back by the rebels when the Russian command denied them air support at US and Jordanian insistence. This time, Russian intentions are unknown.
The US and Israeli commanders are watching the buildup at Izra with concern. Should a Syrian government force manage to fight its way through to the Jordanian border, backed by Hizballah and Iranian commanders, it would pose a threat to the US contingents posted in northern Jordan and embedded in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle. Their presence there would be just a hop and a jump away from the Syrian Golan town of Quneitra and the Israeli border to the east, which is causing anxiety in Israel.