First they take Damascus, not Jerusalem

An Israeli army tank is seen stationed near the village of Majdal Shams, on March 19, 2014, in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: AFP/Jalaa Marey)

An Israeli army tank is seen stationed near the village of Majdal Shams, on March 19, 2014, in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: AFP/Jalaa Marey)

There have been no attempts by Syrian rebels to try and harm Israel, but cross-border action is possible, says Northern Command officer

GOLAN HEIGHTS — The different rebel groups in the Golan Heights, controlling 90 percent of the Syrian side of the border region, have not once, in more than three years of war, fired a shot at or taken other military action against Israel, a senior Northern Command army officer said Monday.

The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not rule out the possibility of Israeli action east of the border, within rebel-held Syria, should the need arise. But he stressed that for now, despite the presence of al-Qaeda elements all along the border, “all of the vectors are [pushing] toward Damascus.”

He described a gradual process of destruction that led to the rise of the rebel forces and said that once the fighting has been finished in the villages south and east of Quneitra, in al-Madeira and Ahmadiyeh, and in the last regime “pocket” on the flanks of the Hermon, in the Druze village of Khader, the rebels will use the highway linking the border city of Quneitra to Damascus, a mere 40-kilometer stretch of road, to take the fight to the capital — swiftly, he predicted — and not to march on Jerusalem, as some have suggested.

“I am convinced of this,” he said.

Practically speaking, he said, the Israeli army has not seen a single al-Qaeda-related action against Israel. “During the entirety of the past four years, we have not seen so much as a single rebel from this group with the intention or the operational plan facing in this direction.”

Instead, he said that during the surge in border violence aimed intentionally at Israel, from December 2013 to March 2014, the series of attacks along the fence were all carried out from within the regime-controlled enclaves, and that when mines were used, they all bore the signature marks of the “Hezbollah-Iran production house.”

Armed rebels seen at Syria's Quneitra border crossing to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Armed rebels seen at Syria’s Quneitra border crossing to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

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