The al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front reportedly captured the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing with Israel on August 27.
“Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area,” said Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Israel Defense Forces told farmers on the Golan Heights to leave areas close to the Syrian border as Syrian loyalist and rebel fighters clashed just across the frontier.
There has been sporadic fighting the in the area over recent months, but the current round appeared particularly violent and was clearly visible from inside Israel.
Unsurprisingly, Israel is keeping close tabs on events across the border. An Israeli officer was wounded by a stray bullet during intra-Syrian crossfire on August 27.
Until now, the most radical of the rebels on the Golan were from the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. However, Israel fears the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS and ISIL) is:
…knocking on the door of the Golan Heights. While only a few operatives identified with the movement have been spotted so far in areas near the border, religious leaders in several villages have been making statements in support of the organization, and its flag, or that of groups associated with it, has been seen flying from spots in the distance. As happened in Iraq, alliances based on mutual interest are likely to be made with towns and villages that do not necessarily object to Islamic State’s bloodthirsty ideology.
(Photo: The Tower)