Jubilation: Israel and Syria trade fire as Islamists seize territory along tense border

posted at 12:41 pm on August 27, 2014 by Noah Rothman

A battle between Syrian rebels and forces backing Bashar al-Assad ended on Wednesday with militants taking control of a portion of the strategic Golan Heights near the Quneitra border crossing with Israel.

“The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an array of rebel fighters, including from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, took the crossing after heavy fighting that left at least 20 Syrian soldiers and an unknown number of rebels dead,” the Associated Press reported.

The indication that pro-Western rebels and Islamist militants apparently worked together to seize this area is likely to frustrate President Barack Obama’s efforts to shore up support for limited military strikes in Syria aimed at targeting Islamic State militants and providing support for moderate opposition forces.

For Western military planners, though, al-Nusra does not pose the same threat to the West as does the Islamic State even in spite of its links to al-Qaeda. The group’s decision to release an American hostage after nearly two years of captivity indicated to some observers that the group can be negotiated with and is seeking to present itself as a more moderate Islamic militia than ISIS.

If assuaging the West’s apprehensions was a goal shared by the Free Syrian Army, though, they did not accomplish that feat. A spokesman for pro-Western opposition forces told reporters that their presence on the Israeli border poses no threat to the Jewish state… for the moment.

“Our aim isn’t Israel right now, and we in the FSA haven’t targeted Israeli lands,” said militant spokesman Kenan Mohammed. “The matter of Israel — it’s not for now, and it’s more political.”

That is going to serve as little comfort to Israel. On Wednesday, IDF forces exchanged fire with Syrian army as fire from their battle with rebel militants spilled over the border.

“Israel Defense Forces gunners launched artillery at a Syrian army position, in response to the fire that lightly-to-moderately wounded an IDF officer along the border, as the battle between rebel and regime forces trickled into Israel,” Haaretz reported.

The IDF holds the Syrian army responsible for the incident and for the round of mortar shells that landed in Israel after hours of heavy battle between the rebels and armed forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

The army has declared the area around the crossing and Mount Bental as a closed military zone. According to witnesses, a part of the border crossing has caught fire, including on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, as have landed in agricultural fields on Israeli territory.

The exact identity of the rebels fighting near Quneitra remains unclear. Observers surmise they either belong to the Free Syrian Army or the Islamic Front, and it is not the first time they have tried to take control of the area.

This latest development in the ongoing Syrian civil war unlikely to mollify American anxiety about intervening in Syria, even though the targets are narrowly defined and geographically isolated.


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Nuclear war is near.

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 12:45 PM

A mostly peaceful weaponized incursion.

Why can’t the Jews just stop making themselves targets by continuing to exist? Jeez!

Good Lt on August 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Good God.

The world is falling apart.

dforston on August 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Hoo weeee……we is going to have an all out war in a few weeks/months….between Islam and the rest of the world. Israel is sitting right in the middle of the boiling pot…..

I am pretty sure Hamas is in contact with Syria and ISIS….they are playing both sides.

Iran is scratching their balls, wondering what to do……

When Islam gets together and gangs up on Israel – I think we will see nukes going off in several places at once…..then all bets are off.

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Good thing Israel has dependable allies she can count on.

butch on August 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Admittedly, Israel *is* one of the most notorious terrorist states out there, can you really blame Hamas?

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 12:45 PM

At some point, all bets will be off.

Bmore on August 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

You owe me a coke. ; )

Bmore on August 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Fore!

Tard on August 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

You owe me a coke. ; )

Bmore on August 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Wait – I was first – you owe me a coke!! LOL

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM

The Doomsday clock is 11:59:58

portlandon on August 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

The indication that pro-Western rebels and Islamist militants apparently worked together to seize this area is likely to frustrate President Barack Obama’s efforts to shore up support for limited military strikes in Syria aimed at targeting Islamic State militants and providing support for moderate opposition forces.

A muslim is a muslim – they’re all in it together, including the one who resides in our White House.

Key West Reader on August 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I think Obama’s drones in Syria are really to spy on Israel…..

Hell, he is probably giving ISIS coordinates for attack.

Watch Obama & Jarrett – they are no friends of Israel or the US.

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Heck, Israel might just have to fully mobilize here. I wish they could just knock a few thousand heads together.

Vanceone on August 27, 2014 at 1:05 PM

“This will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”

I think that that about sums up our situation with president mom-jeans and his clown-car posse administration in charge of things.

TKindred on August 27, 2014 at 1:06 PM

The Doomsday clock is 11:59:58

portlandon on August 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Really? Linky, please.

Ward Cleaver on August 27, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I say again – can you even imagine what the press would be doing if all of this was happening under a Republican president?

djl130 on August 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I say again – can you even imagine what the press would be doing if all of this was happening under a Republican president?

djl130 on August 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

If you’re talking about Israel, I doubt it would be very different – most of the media are Israel-haters or Jew-haters.

Ward Cleaver on August 27, 2014 at 1:17 PM

I say again – can you even imagine what the press would be doing if all of this was happening under a Republican president?

djl130 on August 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

“Press”?

The “press” is just the propaganda arm of the Marxists…..

The “press” would not exist except for all the crony capitalist money that is funneled from the marxists to the corporations then to the ad agencies who in turn are supporting the propaganda channels that then send out their “reporters”…..

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Oh, F***!

I predicted first term. Glad I was wrong. Sorry it’s happening now. Glad we didn’t arm the rebels in Syria. Sorry we pulled out of Iraq. Sorry we got involved in the Middle East at all, including Bush I.

Has anyone noticed a reduction in enthusiasm/number of 2016 Presidential candidates over the last few weeks with the rise of ISIS?

talkingpoints on August 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Two front war; just what Israel needs. Jordan is key.

vnvet on August 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Global thermonuclear war-was this the Middle East scenario?

Interesting game. The only way to win is not to play.

talkingpoints on August 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Gaza truce holding but Israel’s Netanyahu under fire at home

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 1:22 PM

“Israel Defense Forces gunners launched artillery at a Syrian army position, in response to the fire that lightly-to-moderately wounded an IDF officer along the border, as the battle between rebel and regime forces trickled into Israel,” Haaretz reported.

Israel has made it a policy to fire on Syrian army no matter who fires into Israel. Some rockets who were clearly from rebel positions in Syria land and in Israel and Israel responded by bombing the house of the mayor of the town who were Assad supporters. So ask yourself what you would do if you were a rebel group near the Israeli border right now. If you knew that no matter which side fired into Israel only the Syrian army would get retaliation. I know what I would do if I was in the rebel groups. It is an easy decision.

My feeling is Israel knew that would happen and they instituted this policy because they want to serve as auxiliary power to the rebels in Syria. There is evidence that they have let rebels cross into Israel to get medical help. So this policy of only shelling Assad forces is intentional.

It is also very much possible that Assad let those rebels take over that crossing to expose this policy to the world. Imagine the headlines. Israel helps al-Qaeda.

Gosh I love geopolitics.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

The Doomsday clock is 11:59:58

portlandon on August 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

It is 5 minutes to midnight

Their current clock setting has nuclear plant safety and global warming BS given as much weight as the threat of nuclear war. The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists has become a self-parody.

Ward Cleaver on August 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

redguy on August 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Ironically, most of the marxist fathers were Jews.

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 1:25 PM

So let me break this down to it’s most simple form. We are currently killing the dogs that present a direct threat to us, while feeding the dog’s that will eventually kill us. What did I miss?

DDay on August 27, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I’ve seen this movie.

You’d think the Syrians would have learned by now.

formwiz on August 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

So let me break this down to it’s most simple form. We are currently killing the dogs that present a direct threat to us, while feeding the dog’s that will eventually kill us. What did I miss?

DDay on August 27, 2014 at 1:25 PM

The US oaf, who’s chief, is an ignorant malicious dilettante, who’s proud of hisself.

He’s also sulking because his Utopian dreams were surpassed by IS.

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Yup. All the surrounding countries maintain their borders, and let the isis-assad cage match sort itself out.

everdiso on August 27, 2014 at 1:29 PM

RE:

I say again – can you even imagine what the press would be doing if all of this was happening under a Republican president?

djl130 on August 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I think the message here is that all of this WOULDN’T be happening under a Rep. Pres.

Von Kleist on August 27, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Furthermore, all factions involved are Muslims. Whether they be Syrian Army or Jihadist. Analogy even a Progressive may understand, this is akin to drug cartels fighting over territory for control of drug routes. The Muslims are merely fighting over the control of Muslim countries and the right to lead. In the end both will be enemies of the west. Perhaps we need more Journalist to travel to these countries for better reporting.

DDay on August 27, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Yup. All the surrounding countries maintain their borders, and let the isis-assad cage match sort itself out.

everdiso on August 27, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Your boy is creating 10 terrorists for every terrorist he murders from the air, why can’t he just honor his Nobel Peace Prize and quit acting the cowboy?

Bishop on August 27, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Schadenfreude on August 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Well said Sir.

DDay on August 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Yup. All the surrounding countries maintain their borders, and let the isis-assad cage match sort itself out.

everdiso on August 27, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Just like the US and Mexico are maintaining their border. Yup, nothing for us here to worry about. There is no way any ISIS forces could have made it into the US.

talkingpoints on August 27, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Global thermonuclear war-was this the Middle East scenario?

Interesting game. The only way to win is not to play.

talkingpoints on August 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM

That reasoning is quite rational, but we have players in this game who are far from rational.

hawkeye54 on August 27, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Is it possible for the extremists to be drastically attacked electronically? Their funds confiscated, their internet access to recruit and communicate destroyed? Conventional weapons will not be enough.

talkingpoints on August 27, 2014 at 1:42 PM

I think these stupid forehead thumpers are forgetting one important thing….

Israel has nukes. Not just the big ones, tactical nukes as well. If Israel becomes nervous about losing territory we may see a new glowing feature on the map in syria. No biggie to me, but it might get a little uncomfortable for the syrians.

Diluculo on August 27, 2014 at 1:44 PM

That reasoning is quite rational, but we have players in this game who are far from rational.

hawkeye54 on August 27, 2014 at 1:41 PM

I actually just texted a shorter version of your post to my husband.

ISIS is nuts. They can’t be reasoned with. Obama can’t conceive of such an enemy. He doesn’t even understand how to defeat a conventional enemy such as Putin who is rational. The world is screwed.

talkingpoints on August 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Gosh I love geopolitics.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Too bad you know nothing about it except your hatred of Israel.

Barred on August 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Too bad you know nothing about it except your hatred of Israel.

Barred on August 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

my love of geopolitics tells you that I hate Israel? Does it tell you anything about my hatred of slow internet speed? How about my hatred traffic? Did you get a sense of my hate for these things in my comment.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM

So in what used to be Syria the ‘moderates’ have teamed up with al Qaeda to fight against Assad and ISIS. Assad is fighting against al Qaeda, ‘moderates’, ISIS and now ISRAEL. Hezbollah is allied with Assad. The US may or may not bomb ISIS?

In Libya, Islamists are taking over but they are being bombed by Egypt and UAE – a bombing of which Obama disapproves in between golf shots.

And in what used to be Iraq, ISIS is fighting against the Baghdad Regime, the Obama Regime, the YKK Kurds, the Peshmerga, Iran and some Sunni tribes.

Is Turkey fighting anybody yet? Am I forgetting anybody?

forest on August 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Gosh I love geopolitics.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Too bad you know nothing about it except your hatred of Israel.

Barred on August 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Indeed that one is the most monumentally stupid troll ever to set foot on HA..and its obsession with Israel and the Jews is pathological, apart from being simply pathetic…

jimver on August 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Yes.

If you knew that no matter which side fired into Israel only the Syrian army would get retaliation. I know what I would do if I was in the rebel groups. It is an easy decision

Barred on August 27, 2014 at 2:03 PM

The indication that pro-Western rebels and Islamist militants apparently worked together

Pro-Western rebels? Were they the ones riding unicorns and lead by Little Bo Peep?

VorDaj on August 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

my love of geopolitics tells you that I hate Israel? Does it tell you anything about my hatred of slow internet speed? How about my hatred traffic? Did you get a sense of my hate for these things in my comment.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM

No. It’s your support for those genocidal Hamas- types that told me all I needed to know.

Israel has one simple policy – and it isn’t discriminatory:

You shoot at us, we shoot back.

Turtle317 on August 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

So in what used to be Syria the ‘moderates’ have teamed up with al Qaeda to fight against Assad and ISIS. Assad is fighting against al Qaeda, ‘moderates’, ISIS and now ISRAEL. Hezbollah is allied with Assad. The US may or may not bomb ISIS?

In Libya, Islamists are taking over but they are being bombed by Egypt and UAE – a bombing of which Obama disapproves in between golf shots.

And in what used to be Iraq, ISIS is fighting against the Baghdad Regime, the Obama Regime, the YKK Kurds, the Peshmerga, Iran and some Sunni tribes.

Is Turkey fighting anybody yet? Am I forgetting anybody?

forest on August 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I think you’re close. At this point, pretty much anybody in the region has a gun pointed at some other ‘faction.’ Any one of which can change in a heartbeat if some other megalomaniac gets it in his head he can turn things politically to his advantage.

Other than that, you’re golden.

Turtle317 on August 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Gosh I love geopolitics.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Too bad you don’t love the English language.

In all your posts, you write like a flunkie from third grade. If you can’t compose proper sentences, then I think geopolitics is way beyond your pay grade.

Basically, you’re a two-cell brained idiot. Live with it, embrace your stupidity.

Oh, yeah. You apparently have. If I were as moronic as you, I would be too embarrassed to display it in public like you do.

ZeusGoose on August 27, 2014 at 2:52 PM

So in what used to be Syria the ‘moderates’ have teamed up with al Qaeda to fight against Assad and ISIS. Assad is fighting against al Qaeda, ‘moderates’, ISIS and now ISRAEL. Hezbollah is allied with Assad. The US may or may not bomb ISIS?

In Libya, Islamists are taking over but they are being bombed by Egypt and UAE – a bombing of which Obama disapproves in between golf shots.

And in what used to be Iraq, ISIS is fighting against the Baghdad Regime, the Obama Regime, the YKK Kurds, the Peshmerga, Iran and some Sunni tribes.

Is Turkey fighting anybody yet? Am I forgetting anybody?

forest on August 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

“The world has never been less violent”.

~ B. Hussein O.

WhirledPeas on August 27, 2014 at 3:07 PM

The indication that pro-Western rebels (FSA) and Islamist militants apparently worked together to seize this area is likely to frustrate President Barack Obama’s efforts to shore up support for limited military strikes in Syria aimed at targeting Islamic State militants and providing support for moderate opposition forces.

Noah what do you think the lessons are here?

The lesson should be:

You don’t arm any random muslim group just because they are claiming to be for democracy, or are for “freedom”. Freedom can mean lots of different things to different people. One bad sign is if in their youtube videos they are shouting “allahu Akbar” while in battle. Another bad sign is if the infidels in the region are fleeing from them. There is a reason the Christians prefer Assad over the FSA, or any other Sunni dominated group.

Goofy plans to destabilize dictators and military governments in the Islamic world usually end up making that country more Islamic. Now how is making a country more Islamic good for America and infidels? FSA was never an option and the faster we get that through our collective foreign policy thick skulls the better it will be for America and infidels.

William Eaton on August 27, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Here’s a solid hint for ISIS. Israeli’s won’t throw down their weapons and run like the Iraqi Army did, you better put on your big-girl burkhas before trying them out.

PJ Emeritus on August 27, 2014 at 3:24 PM

“western backed”

Yeah, and the FSA has had their share of mass murders and head chopping ceremonies including that of an Orthodox priest.

But, patriotic, Christian Americans would rather complain about the Muslims rather than the people over here and in Europe that finance them…without support from the U.S. and Europe, they wouldn’t be able to carry out these crimes in the first place.

Suckers.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 27, 2014 at 3:42 PM

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Prove that, you liar. Here’s a solid hint for you, moron. The reason this is news is because it DOESN’T happen like you claim, on a regular basis.

PJ Emeritus on August 27, 2014 at 4:01 PM

It will be interesting to see how ISIS stands up to the IDF. ISIS is used to the opposition running away, not standing and fighting. They did not fair well against the Kurds and the IDF is a lot better trained.

namvet6869 on August 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM

seeking to present itself as a more moderate Islamic militia than ISIS

so…sh!t comes in different flavors. who knew?

Renee on August 27, 2014 at 5:52 PM