Steinitz ‘cautiously optimistic’ about resolving Israeli-Lebanese border conflicts
Report claims Iranian-backed militants are dressing as Syrian soldiers to avoid IDF attentionAccording to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Iranian-backed forces are circumventing Israel and Russia’s agreement to withdraw Iranian forces from Syria’s border with Israel by dressing up as Assad forces.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal released on Friday, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militants near Israel’s northern border are disguising themselves as Syrian forces in order to avoid detection by the Israeli Air Force. In the report, rebel fighters claimed that the disguises are orchestrated and supported by the Syrian Assad regime. Over the past few months, the Israeli Air Force struck multiple Iranian-held targets in Syria.
Ahmad Azam, who commands forces in the Syrian rebel Salvation Army, was quoted claiming that the Iranian-backed forces are “leaving in their Hezbollah uniform and they are returning in regime vehicles and dressed in regular [Syrian] army uniforms.” Azam also claimed that many of the Iranian-backed militants are given official ID cards from the Syrian government that belonged to now dead Syrian government forces. Two weeks ago, JOL reported that Israel and Russia had reached an agreement to withdraw Iranian-backed forces from Syria’s southern region, near the Israeli border. JOL also reported that the Russian foreign minister was also quoted as stating that only Assad forces have a right to be present in southern Syria.
As a result of the agreement between Russia and Israel, the Israeli Air Force would be free to strike any targets it believes to endanger Israel’s security without striking Russian, Iranian, or Syrian government forces. This agreement came after it was reported that Iranian forces fired rockets on IDF forces for the first time in the two countries’ histories. Following Israeli air strikes on Iranian-held positions in Syria, many feared that hostilities could escalate into a war-like scenario. The agreement between Russia and Israel suggested that both sides were attempting to avoid this outcome. However, both Israeli and Iranian officials were quoted as stating that no such agreement was actually reached.
Iranian General Masoud Jazayeri was quoted as stating that “the US and Israel are making desperate attempts to change the situation at the border” and that “the Zionist regime’s greatest fear is the presence of Muslim fighters near the border. It has come to pass.”
Israeli forces near the border with Syria remain on high alert, with the expectation that hostilities near the border may continue for a number of months. Hezbollah forces are now deeply involved on three fronts of hostilities with Israel. Yesterday, JOL reported that Hezbollah forces are training Hamas terrorists in Lebanon, as well as building a new missile manufacturing factory. In addition to training Hamas forces and engaging in combat in Syria, Hezbollah continues to prepare for expected hostilities with Israel at the Lebanon border.
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