Thursday, May 5, Israel augmented the units deployed on its border with Syria and the intersection of the Israel-Syria-Jordan frontiers in the Har Dov area against the spate of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in flight from President Bashar Assad's bloody crackdown in Damascus and the Daraa region. The UN force on the Golan Heights – UNDOF – is likewise beefing up the contingents policing Israeli-Syrian ceasefire lines.
debkafile's military sources report the IDF has set up new lookout posts and is conducting aerial have been surveillance to keep track of movements across the border. Special units with riot gear are posted on the Golan in since Wednesday.
Three developments led Israel to place its border contingents on a high state of preparedness, according to our military sources:
1. Israeli intelligence estimates that this coming Friday and Saturday, Assad will concentrate his harshest measures on rebel centers in Damascus and the Horon towns close to the Israeli border of which Daraa is the center.
Wednesday, large concentrations of Syrian forces with about 70 personnel carriers and 30 tanks took up position around Damascus. Thursday, they were reported raiding suburban homes and making dozens of arrests.
2. Word has been received that on Friday, Syrian security forces will move into Quneitra in the Syrian sector of Golan to back up Assad's crackdown in Horon. They would be easily visible from the villages and towns of the Israeli sector.
The Syrian president is quoted as informing a meeting of ruling Baath activists Tuesday, May 3 that he is close to finishing off the Daraa revolt. The violence entailed in this operation would take place very close to the Israeli border. The IDF's Northern Command responded by making preparations to keep it sealed.
debkafile's sources say that many of the protesters in and around Damascus hail from the Golan. In flight from Assad's guns, they are beginning to return to their native region. It is feared that if Syrian government persecution continues, they may try and cross into Israel.
3. Other large groups were turned away by Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, which closed their borders against refugees last month. They too are now heading for the Israel border in search of temporary shelter.