Israel threatens to attack Syrian troops battling Hetesh
RESIDENTS of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights protested yesterday over Israeli support for al-Qaida terrorists assaulting a Syrian town.
Israel threatened to send troops across the armistice line in the Golan Heights after Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Hetesh) launched a major offensive on the town of Hadar a few miles to the east.
Hadar’s population is largely from the Druze ethno-religious minority.
The Israeli Defence Forces cited their claimed commitment to defending the Druze and the reported wounding of an Israeli citizen by stray fire as pretext for massing troops near the frontier with Syria’s Quneitra province.
The Hetesh offensive, aimed at breaking the Syrian army’s encirclement of the Beit Jinn pocket to the north, began with a suicide car bomb attack in Hadar that killed nine and injured 23 — with the death toll likely to rise.
The terrorists attacked from the north and west and captured a pair of hills and farmland, opening a supply route to Beit Jinn which has been under heavy army attack this week.
But an army counter-attack retook several points west of Hadar, while reinforcements were rushed to the front.
Syrian residents of the occupied western portion of the Golan Heights gathered to protest following the attack, saying it had been launched from the al-Tuloul al-Homr area directly adjacent to Israeli army positions.
They tried to cross the ceasefire line but were stopped by occupation troops, who also closed roads into the area.
Israel has repeatedly launched air and missile attacks on Syrian forces fighting Hetesh — better known as the Nusra Front — on the pretext of stray shells landing in the heights.
On Wednesday night Israeli jets violated Lebanese air space to launch missiles at a warehouse in Syria’s central Homs province.
The Israeli invasion threat came as troops liberated the last districts of Deir Ezzor from Isis extremists, whose four-year siege of the eastern city was broken in September.
And the Syrian army advanced another 5 miles towards Abu Kamal on the Iraqi border — which Russia continued to blitz with both long-range heavy bomber raids and cruise missiles launched from the Mediterranean.