Syrian sources are reporting that the battle for Al-Baath city, which lies in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria has been renewed. So far the rebels that were pushed out of the strategic city last week, have yet to regain a foothold in Al-Baath, which is in the Quneitra province.
The sources indicate that Israeli jet fighters have launched supportive attacks against the regime forces in the area. The airstrikes struck regime army positions inflicting heavy losses both in personnel and military equipment to the regime.
Al-Baath City is strategic due to its location within the UNDOF zone. Its control by the Syrian regime essentially puts Iran within striking distance of the Golan.
Prime Minister Netanyahu stated last week in Katzrin:
“We are here celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Katzrin, the capital of the Golan Heights. I said that we will not tolerate spillover and that we will respond to every firing. During my speech, shells from the Syrian side landed in our territory, and the IDF has already struck back. Whoever attacks us – we will attack him. This is our policy and we will continue with it.”
If the FSA is unable to retake Al-Baath, even with Israeli air support, Israel will be forced to either reconcile with an emboldened Iran on their border or enter the fray directly to hold them back.
Syria and Hezbollah are reporting that they have successfully cleaned Al-Baath city from rebel and Jihadi forces. Al-Baath has been the target of intense fighting between rebel and regime forces for over a week. The city is strategic for its location closer to the Damascus-Daraa road which has been the main supply line for the regime forces fighting against Free Syrian Army associated militias in Daraa.
Al-Baath itself, is the headquarters for the Iranian and Hezbollah contingents in Western Syria. The city’s fall gives the regime and its Iranian ally direct access to the Quneitra province. It also forces the Israeli government into a bit of a quandary. Up until the Israeli army has opted for using retaliation strikes against the regime as a way of tacitly aiding the rebels as well as offering humanitarian aid. It has worked until now. With Syria and Iran now able to move within the Israeli buffer zone around the Golan, Prime Minister Netanyahu will be forced to decide whether to enter the Syrian Civil War directly or allow the Shiite juggernaut to take up positions on the Israeli border.
With all the talk and excitement of the arrival of the USS H.W. Bush Aircraft carrier at the port in Haifa, an ominous battle keeps moving closer to Israel’s Eastern border.
For the second time in one hour mortars from a battle between Syrian regime forces and rebel militia has hit the Israeli Golan. On Friday the IDF retaliated again for a stray mortar. With two mortars hitting Israel, the IDF will have no choice but to hit back.
Due to the rebel (FSA and Jihadi Forces) continued assault of Al-Baath, the location of the forward Iranian base in South-West Syria, the IDF will again use the opportunity to attack Assad’s forces.
The initial assault began just over a week ago, but has stalled in its goal of taking Al-Baath and splitting the regime’s control over the Damascs-Daraa highway. The Syrian regime forces and their Iranian allies have brough the battle close to the Israeli border, in fact 3 kilometers away.
According to the Syrian regime there are still Israeli drones flying over al-Baath and seemingly posted there for a follow up attack.
Given the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu has insisted that Israel won’t allow Syrian and Iranian troops to take up positions on the Golan border, Israel may have not choice but to step up attacks with or without continued provocation.