DEBKAfile Exclusive: Contrary to widespread reports, Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces were moving into southern Syria on Friday, June 1 opposite the Jordanian and Israeli (Golan) borders. Neither Israel nor Iran have endorsed the proposals for their removal which, on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu to Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman.
Indeed, DEBKAfile’s military sources report that these reports were manifestly belied by the four assertive military moves made by Iran, Syria and Hizballah in the past 24 hours:
- Al Qods chief Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani ordered additional forces to bolster the three Revolutionary Guards command centers in southern Syria. They are situated at Izra, opposite Daraa on the Jordanian border, at al-Kiswah, south of Damascus (which Israeli air strikes targeted several times since February); and at Khan Arnaba outside the Syrian Golan town of Quneitra, which Iranian officers share with HIzballah. New Iranian air defense missiles were delivered to the reinforced command centers.
- A general call-up was declared on Thursday for Iran’s imported Shiite militias, including Hizballah. The Palestinian Jerusalem battalion of Iran’s Al-Qods Brigades was transferred to the Quneitra region a short distance from Israel’s Golan border.
- They were joined there by a further infusion of troops from the Syrian army’s 4th armored division. In Damascus, the Assad regime beat the war drums with vows of an epic battle to capture Quneitra from rebel hands. However, our military experts point out that the Syrian army is short of strength for waging two offensives at the same time, in both Daraa and Quneitra.
- Syrian military uniforms continued to be handed out on Friday to Hizballah fighters deployed outside the Syrian Golan town. These Lebanese Shiite units took on the aspect of Syrian military contingents, following the Russian ruse of handing out Ukrainian military uniforms to its soldier on that east European front.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources stress once against that no agreement exists between Russia and Israel, or Russia and Iran and Syria for Iranian and Hizballah forces to exit southern Syria. It stands to reason that Tehran will never accept a deal to remove its military personnel from the south while Israel is left free to carry on striking Iranian military targets in other parts of Syria. Reports of deals are being pumped out from Russian sources alone.