IDF Expects Syria to Attack Rebels Near Golan Crossing Tonight
Senior IDF sources appraised on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces would attack the Syrian side of the Golan Heights over the course of the night, after the Quneitra border crossing to Israel on that side was captured by rebel forces the day before.
According to the IDF sources, the Syrian army is currently dispatching more troops to the area, and likewise the IDF is reinforcing its soldiers on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights out of concern that the fighting may spill over, reports Walla!.
The security situation on the Syrian border is "troubling," the Hebrew news site quoted one senior source as saying. He added "it's clear to us that the Syrian army doesn't want to deteriorate the situation and is being very careful about errant fire towards the Israeli side."
Despite those efforts, there was a spillover of fire on Wednesday, as tank and mortar shells wounded two Israelis.
Another element that has been introduced to the Quneitra equation, namely the 43 UN peacekeepers from Fiji who were captured by rebel forces, and 81 other UN employees from the Philippines who are currently surrounded.
The rebel forces reportedly include members of the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front, who took the 43 peacekeepers hostage near the Quneitra crossing, which is the only Golan crossing to Israel from Syria.
Responding to the reports, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric stated "some groups are self-identified as affiliated to Al-Nusra but we are not able to confirm." Photos from the site have shown rebel forces setting black Al Qaeda flags on the Syrian side of the border.
The Filipino defense department said in a statement that its 81 soldiers "held their ground...(which) resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation at this time as UN officials try to peacefully resolve the situation," reports AFP.
The UN Security Council "strongly condemned" the abduction of the 43 UN employees and the "surrounding of positions" of the other 81 peacekeepers by "terrorist groups and by members of non-state armed groups."
Addressing the rebel forces, the Council demanded the "unconditional and immediate release of all the detained United Nations peacekeepers."
UN officials added that the 81 troops were surrounding near Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah, while the troops from Fiji were taken to the southern part of the buffer zone.