Syrian rebels, including some radical Islamic elements, have seized control of a Syrian border crossing with Israel from Assad’s forces, the AP reports:
Syrian rebels, including fighters from an al-Qaida-linked group, seized control of a frontier crossing with Israel in the Golan Heights on Wednesday after heavy clashes with President Bashar Assad’s forces, activists and rebels said. […]The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an array of rebel fighters, including from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, took the crossing after heavy fighting that left at least 20 Syrian soldiers and an unknown number of rebels dead.
The Times of Israel adds that the fighting injured an Israeli officer, and that the rebels in question appear to be in a temporary alliance of convenience aimed at taking the crossing from the Assad regime.Though the rebels claim that they have plans to attack Israel, having an al Qaeda offshoot as a neighbor is cause for great alarm. As Haaretz notes, ISIS, whom even al-Qaeda considers extreme, is “already knocking on the door of the Golan Heights”:
While only a few operatives identified with [ISIS] 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.
The chaos of the Syria’s civil war has spread to its border with Lebanon. Will it drag Israel in as well?