Al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria now control all border crossings with Jordan, bringing the terror group one step closer to threatening Israel. Hamas is combating ISIS in Damascus.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels in Syria have taken over the last remaining border crossing into Jordan. This success puts the terrorist organization one step closer to threatening Israeli security. In Damascus, Hamas and ISIS are facing each other in conflict.
A coalition of rebel groups attacked the Nasib border crossing on Tuesday, and they were joined by Nusra Front members on Wednesday. The Syrian army withdrew from the crossing and bombarded the rebels with improvised explosives made from re-purposed oil drums and barrels. The bombing did not succeed in restoring the Assad regime’s control.
The crossing is located in Syria’s Daraa Province, a pivotal scene of fighting between the various factions in Syria’s Civil War. Nasib served as a transit point for a major trucking route stretching from Lebanon to the Persian Gulf. Jordan closed its side of the border crossing on Wednesday in order not to endanger travelers.
Jordan has thus far succeeded in keeping the fighting outside of its borders by virtue of its strong military and intelligence services. The country cracked down on al-Qaeda following the 2005 hotel bombings in Amman. Jordan is an active participant in US-led air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, especially after the terrorist organization burned one of its fighter pilots to death. Furthermore, many of al-Qaeda’s leaders are of Jordanian origin, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which later became ISIS.
If fighting spills over into Jordan, it would be a disaster for Israel, which is already on alert on the Golan Heights. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has avoided conflict with Israel, but the Assad regime is supported by Hezbollah, which has exchanged fire with the IDF. Neither are the Sunni Islamist groups fighting Assad friends of Israel, although Israel has provided humanitarian support for non-Islamist rebel groups along the border.
At the same time, ISIS has taken over much of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus. Hamas arrested several ISIS operatives on suspicion of murdering a Hamas official there. ISIS responded by attacking the camp. Rebel groups had previously occupied Yarmouk but left in 2014 under an agreement that allowed only anti-regime groups to remain. The population of Yarmouk fell nearly 90% since the start of the war from 160,000 to just 18,000.
By: United with Israel Staff