As the crisis in Syria heats up, the IDF is not taking any chances when it comes to protecting its borders.
A recent video emerged claiming that Syrian rebels captured the villages of Quneitra and Qunaytirah, not far from the Israel-Syria border in the Golan Heights. As a result, the IDF took proactive steps in help stem the flow of possible violence spilling over into Israel.
The IDF closed the Quneitra crossing several times this week and has even refused UNDOF forces to pass through. An IDF spokeswoman told AFP that the area was closed “for security reasons.”
Radical and moderate Islamist rebel groups announced that they would now seek to capture the village of al-Hamidia along the Quneitra crossing as well as the a-Rawdi crossing. According to a statement in the video by the rebels, the operation is meant to remove the Syrian government from the area.
The rebels hope that the newest operation would allow them to reach their final goal in the area, that of overtaking the villages of Jabta Elhashab and Taranja, which is directly adjacent to the Israel border.
The video, which was published on the rebel groups Facebook page, claims that it has been aided by the Araya al-Jihad (Jihad Squadrons) and Harchat Mujahedeen a-Shaham (Syrian Jihad Warriors Movement). At one point, the rebels are mere feet away from the border fence.
During the video, the men are seen being lectured about the importance of “Jihad for Allah.” The rebel leader stated that the overall goal was the implementation of Sharia law in the region and not removing Assad from power.
At several points throughout the video, armed rebels can be seen in pickup trucks waving the notorious black flag associated with al-Qaeda which reads, “There is no God but Allah.”
Since the beginning of the civil war, Israel has raised its alert level on the border. IDF soldiers stationed along the border with Syria are put on high alert each time either rebel or government forces gather close to Israeli territory. The IDF has encountered live rounds and shells being shot into Israel from Assad and rebel forces fighting one another.