Three glaring inaccuracies appeared in the Syrian claim on Tuesday, July 31, that its army had won control of the entire border with Israel, which failed to credit Hizballah and pro-Iranian Shiites.
- Hizballah and Shiite militias commanded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, in fact, fought the winning battle for the Syrian-Israeli border regions – not the Syrian army’s 4th
- “The Syria Special Forces” credited with the feat is a euphemism for “The Local Defense Forces” – itself a code-word for a Shiite unit run by Hizballah officers and local mercenaries in Hizballah’s pay. Its commander does not take its orders from the Syrian general command, but directly from Iranian Revolutionary Guards centers in Syria. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that, by now, these “Local Defense Forces” have set up headquarters in the Quneitra region at Tel Mashara and Mashara the town.
An Israeli officer relayed a hurried request through IDF channels to the Russian command in Khmeimim, asking them to protect the population which had fallen under Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah control after being long allied with and aided by Israel. This request to save lives was not only belated, but futile. The Russians, having abetted the Syrian/Iranian conquest of southwestern Syria, are now gone from the area. President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu have therefore reneged on their reiterated pledge to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to appoint a Russian officer at the head of the Syrian units entering the border regions as a guarantee that pro-Iranian elements would not move in with them. This was the last of a row of commitments which the Russians failed to uphold.
Going by past instances, the incoming Syrian “special forces” will now start a process of “selection” to establish which parts of the population collaborated with Israel. We will soon start hearing about mass executions.
- The battle for the Yarmuk valley is not over, as the Syrians maintain. True, the roughly one thousand Khalid bin Walid Army fighters loyal to the Islamic State have no chance against the onslaught mounted on them in the last corner of the border. But for now, they are still holding out in 50 sq.km of the pocket that controls the Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian border intersection, They are also armed with Grad ground-to-ground rockets, two of which landed in the Sea of Galilee on July 25.
So what happened to the solemn promises never to allow pro-Iranian and Hizballah forces to reach the Israeli border and certainly not to set up bases in Syria, that were heard week after week from Israel’s top leaders, such as the prime minister, the defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, senior cabinet ministers Naftali Bennett and Yoav Galant and the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot? The new photo attached to this article clearly attests to those hostile forces already sitting on fences within sight of the IDF’s positions on the Golan border.