The Syrian army and Iranian-backed forces advanced towards the Israeli-Syrian border. According to a Reuters report, the forces seized vast portions of the remaining rebel-controlled areas in southern Syria and reached the foothills of Mount Hermon. A rebel source said that Iranian-backed forces are attempting to expand their control to the enclave near the Israeli-Syrian border.

Watch: Commander of an Iranian-backed milita touring the Israeli-Lebanese border

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Syrian military forces and Iranian-backed militias advanced near the Israeli border and seized rebel-controlled areas in southern Syria, according to a Reuters report on Monday. The move reveals an expansion of Iranian influence in the country.

The forces headed to the rebel-controlled Beit Jinn area southwest of Damascus and seized control of vast portions of the rebels’ stronghold. According to the report, the Syrian army said it encircled Maghr al-Meer, a town in the foothills of the Hermon mountain.

An intelligence source told Reuters that Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, including Hezbollah, were involved in recent battles in the area. An official of the Liwa al-Furqan rebel group said that Iranian-backed forces are attempting to expand their control from southwest Damascus to the Israeli border.

Qais al-Khazali in Lebanon

Qais al-Khazali in Lebanon Photo Credit: Israel News Company

The Israeli Defense Ministry has repeatedly warned against the increasing Iranian presence in Syria and Lebanon. As previously reported by JOL earlier this month, the commander of one of the Iranians’ most important militias was recorded taking a tour along the Israel-Lebanon border accompanied by Hezbollah terrorists.

The commander, Qais al-Khazali, is wanted by the US and even served time in a US prison. He is considered one of the prominent leaders of the Iraqi battle against ISIS. “We announce that we’re fully prepared to stand with the Lebanese people and with the Palestinians against the tyrannical Israeli occupation that is hostile to Islam, Arabs and humanity,” said al-Khazali during his tour near the border.

Assad's forces in Syria

Assad’s forces in Syria Photo Credit: Reuters/Israel News Company