The wretched plight of the troops manning Syrian defense divisions defending the Golan border and Mt. Hermon was clearly visible from lookout points on the Israeli side in the last two days, debkafile’s military sources report. The regular water and food supplies to their bases, the backbone of Syria’s defense lines against Israel, were stopped and redirected to the units fighting anti-Assad rebels in other parts of the country. Large groups of armed soldiers have gone AWOL to hunt for food. For the first time in years, some have approached the border fence. They don’t ask Israeli soldiers for food, but parcels thrown across the fence vanish in a trice.
According to our sources, the 5th Division posted in the Golan town of Quneitra has suffered the largest number of desertions, estimated at more than 1,500 officers and men, around 15 percent of the full complement. But hundreds of dropouts occur daily from the 15th, 9th and 7th Divisions stationed in central and southern Golan.
The district commands have meanwhile lost control of the Syrian-Israeli border deployment. Military facilities are deserted with no one to guard against trespassers. Gangs, local and from across Syria’s eastern borders with Jordan and Iraq, were quick to realize the bases are unguarded and have begun stripping them of equipment and looting everything they can lay hands on. These gangs are working stealthily so as not to drawing the attention of Assad’s security forces which might stop the looting. But they are most likely being used by Assad’s Sunni enemies in Iraq and Jordan as vehicles to plant terrorist cells inside Syria for attacking military targets.
debkafile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources disclose this is what happened at the Golan village of Sahm al-Jolan near Quneitra Friday, April 20 when a large (100 kilo) bomb blew up as a Syrian military convoy was passing through. At least 10 soldiers were killed and 35 injured. The Syrian authorities stated that a remote-controlled explosive device blew up against a bus carrying soldiers.
It is believed that a Jordanian Sunni terrorist band was responsible. That day too, five Syrian soldiers were killed in another attack in the southern Syrian town of Karak near the flashpoint town of Deraa.