With Iran-funded terrorism on the Israel-Syria border and the increasing presence of jihadists, the IDF conducted two weeks of exercises to prepare for the possibility of an incursion into Syrian territory should the need arise.

Fighting at Syrian border

Fighting in Quneitra, near the Israeli border. (Flash90)

The IDF is conducting exercises to prepare for a potential incursion into Syrian territory in the event of increased terrorism at the Israeli-Syrian border or heavy rocket fire. The exercises reflect recent developments on the Syrian front, including a series of terrorist attacks funded by Iran and the increased presence of jihadists near the border.

The exercises, which took place over the past two weeks, covered a number of scenarios, including: terrorist infiltration into Israeli territory; mortar fire from Syria into Israeli communities; chemical weapons attacks; an Islamist takeover of Hader, a Druze village whose residents have many relatives inside Israel; and a large-scale confrontation with Hezbollah.

So far, Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria, with periodic airstrikes against Hezbollah targets or in response to mortar attacks. During a flare up in tensions between Israel and Hezbollah following an airstrike that killed Jihad Mughniyeh, son of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, both sides made an effort to de-escalate the situation.

Hezbollah at the Syrian border

Hezbollah terrorists deployed in Syria.(AP/Bilal Hussein)

The military exercises are evidence that the IDF’s risk assessment has changed. For example, Iran has become a greater cause for concern.

“It’s clear that Iran is behind all of the terror attacks here [in the Golan] in the past two years,” a senior IDF officer told reporters on Sunday. “The Iranians are using the border – they establish units – whether it’s [Imad] Mughniyeh, [Samir] Kuntar, and more – to carry out [the attacks].”

Another threat is the growing presence of Islamic terrorists on the Golan. Most of the Syrian side of the plateau, with the exception of Quneitra and Hader, are under the control of Islamists, primarily the Nusra Front. The Nusra Front has not attacked Israel yet, but that could change as the al-Qaeda affiliate consolidates its control.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel

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