ALEPPO LIBERATED: Syria claims final victory, Assad congratulates troops

Posted on Fort Russ

December 14, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
RusVesna – translated by J. Arnoldski –
The Syrian Arab Army, supported by militia brigades and the Russian air force, has completely liberated Aleppo and liquidated the cauldron in the east of the city. This has been announced by the Syrian army. Bashar al-Assad has congratulated soldiers on victory.
The terrorists blocked off in the last districts of the city have requested to be evacuated to Idlib without weapons. As has been reported, the battle for the largest city in Syria began in the Salahedin neighborhood and has now finished in it. 
 
 
This great victory in the Syrian War largely belongs to Russia, whose sons and daughters bravely fought terrorism as air force pilots, military advisors, engineers, as fighters in chemical defense units, and as military medics.
Earlier on Monday, the Syrian Arab Army won considerable successes, leaving only a handful of buildings in three districts in the hands of militants. The terrorists had no choice but to “surrender or die,” as Lieutenant Zayed al-Saleh, head of Syria’s Security Committee, stated to journalists in the recently liberated Sheikh-Said district.
The battle for Aleppo lasted four and a half years, having started with street fights on the night of July 19th, 2012.
The city’s residents already began celebrating the victory over terrorists yesterday.
After local television channels announced impending victory, the city’s residents took to the streets to celebrate, planes conducted an air salute over the city, and soldiers shot into the air. The Syrian government agency SANA has released footage of Bashar al-Assad greeting Syrian troops following the declaration of victory in Aleppo.
This morning, reports came in that some militants have not surrendered or agreed to be evacuated. The army is continuing to mop up the last pockets of resistance.

Israeli General calls for providing arms to Assad “to save the regime” against “extremist Muslim groups”

Global Research, July 08, 2015

A number of Israeli generals and political commentators have called on the Netanyahu government to provide military aid to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria in order to prevent its downfall. It is an unprecedented campaign to “Save the Assad regime”.

According to General Azer Tsfrir, for example, allowing the Assad regime to fall would mean turning Syria into a “black hole” in which the border areas could become launch pads for operations against Israel. Writing in Haaretz, the former military intelligence officer suggested that the fall of Assad would subject Syria to the hegemony of extremist Muslim groups which have declared their desire to destroy the Zionist state. They would, he claimed, become a first degree strategic threat.

Tsfrir stressed that the most serious outcome of a Syrian takeover by extremists would be the undermining of stability in Jordan, the government of which is an important ally of both Israel and the West. Lebanon’s sectarian and ideological balance would also be disrupted, he said.

The Netanyahu government should provide military aid to the Assad regime directly or indirectly in order to guarantee that it does not fall, Tsfrir urged. “Israel should overlook the fact that the Assad regime is using the assistance of Iranian troops and elements from Hezbollah to help him in his battle for survival.” Indeed, he added, providing aid to Assad may lead to a rapprochement between Israel and both Iran and Hezbollah, as well as the Shia bloc in general.

Arab affairs commentator Jacky Houki, meanwhile, said on the Yizrael Pulse website last Friday that the continuation of the Assad regime is the guarantee for calm on the Syrian border. Israel, he explained, could exert pressure and impose economic sanctions to deter the Assad regime in case it behaved in a manner deemed harmful to security, whereas military pressure and economic sanctions do not in any way deter the radical Sunni Islamic groups. Houki believes that Israel prefers the pragmatism of Hezbollah to such Sunni groups. The Shia militia may be fierce fighters, he argued, but they would not carry out brutal attacks likes those perpetrated by the Sunnis. He accused the Netanyahu government of irresponsibility by not arresting the decline of the Assad regime. He warned that all settlers in Israel may end up paying dearly for the cost of the fall of the government in Damascus.

NATO attempt at “interim” government in Syria echoes Libya model

Posted on Syria Solidarity Movement.org
From Activist Post, May 6, 2015

The immediate clamor from the Western mainstream press regarding the fall of Idlib to Western-backed al-Qaeda/ISIS forces revealed part of the NATO plan as much as it involved the simultaneous participation of a media campaign designed to weaken the morale of the Syrian people and present a sense of inevitability amongst Syrian and all other populations following the crisis that the Syrian government was on its way out.

Such media hysteria has been the norm in the West in regards to Syria. However, in terms of the recent media blitz over Idlib, the goal, which has been part of the NATO-Turkish plan since early on in the conflict was to enable the capture of a major Syrian city so as to provide a physical seat of what would then be presented as the “government in exile” in the form of an “interim” or “transitional” government.

While the GIE/interim government would be painted as a modern-day grouping of Founding Fathers and freedom lovers bravely standing up to a dictator, the reality would be a gaggle of terrorists and jihadists bent on imposing Sharia law and washing themselves in bathtubs full of Western money.

Such can be seen in the fact that, only a matter of days after taking the city, the death squads that can barely govern their interactions with one another announced that they were well on their way to establishing a “civilian government” in Idlib.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in its article, “Syrian Opposition Tries To Govern Newly Won Idlib City,”

The rebel groups that took over a provincial capital in northwest Syria over the weekend are now trying to consolidate control and establish civil governance.

After days spent tearing down the ubiquitous images of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the coalition of Islamist groups, which includes al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, say they will help form a civilian government to run Idlib, capital of Idlib province. For now the streets are full of armed fighters with little organizational direction.

[…]

The opposition has a lot to prove in terms of governance as much of the territory it controls is beset by crime, corruption and a lack of services— in addition to regular attacks by the Syrian regime. The political opposition in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, has provided funding for local councils but the money has often been scarce and unreliable.

Note how the WSJ refers to the “opposition,” “al-Qaeda,” “al-Nusra Front,” and “rebels” as they should rightly be described – as the same entity.

Still, as Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer Report and New Eastern Outlook wrote, the Turkish media also seized upon the jihadist victory and began calling for Idlib to be used as the Capital seat for an “interim” government. Of course, such an “interim” government would be presented as the legitimate government of Syria that finally found a physical seat of power after the ouster of Bashar al-Assad.

There is little doubt that such an interim government would not only consist of jihadists and the subsequent imposition of Sharia law, but also of the parasites and traitors that make up the Syrian National Coalition, a group of pathetic individuals who lap up the luxury of five star hotels paid for by Saudi and American money.

The forming of an “interim” (albeit illegitimate) government would follow the model of Libya, the NATO conquest that preceded Syria. Indeed, the goal of developing an “interim” government located inside Syria and protected by NATO bombing campaigns by virtue of the establishment of a “buffer zone” or “no-fly zone” has been one that NATO and the GCC have drooled over for quite some time.

Early on, it appeared that Aleppo was the preferred target for NATO in its bid to establish a “transitional” government but that attempt was ultimately defeated by the Syrian military, with Syrian control over Aleppo only growing in recent months. Damascus also seemed to have been a target if, for no other reason than the fact that it is the Syrian Capital city. However, those attempts have brought little favor to the death squads either.

Idlib, however, has been another story, with the jihadists sweeping in to take control of the territory in a manner so swift as to confuse many onlookers unfamiliar with the details of the Syrian crisis. For this reason, it is important to note that the city of Idlib lies only miles away from the Turkish border.

The location of Idlib in relation to Turkey is important because it is from Turkey that a steady supply of weapons and fighters are entering Syria. It is thus no coincidence that the presence of Jobhat al-Nusra is strongest in the areas bordering Turkey (as well as those bordering Jordan, another supporter of jihadist forces).

While the mainstream Western press is busy presenting Assad as having lost control of the overwhelming majority of the country and providing maps that are inconsistent with the realities on the ground, the truth is that the Syrian forces are on their way to returning Idlib to government control but are attempting to do so in a way that minimizes loss of civilian life. Indeed, the SAA is already in control of the Southern portion of Idlib, it is only a matter of time before the SAA is able to retake the city, providing there are no more mass injections of jihadists into the fray.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the U.S. airstrikes and its attempts to create a “buffer zone” inside Syria are nothing more than a farce. The death squads running amok in Syria are themselves entirely creatures of NATO and they remain under NATO’s command. The true enemy of ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and the cannibals of the Levant has always been and continues to be Bashar al-Assad.

There will be no “interim” government or “transitional phase” that will ever be legitimate in the context of the NATO, Anglo-American assault on Syria.

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/05/nato-attempt-at-interim-government-in.html

http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/2015/05/08/nato-attempt-at-interim-government-in-syria-echoes-libya-model/

Killing Palestinians in Yarmouk — more evidence that ISIS is US and Israeli-backed

From Prayers for Syria
ISIS shows its true colours in Yarmouk! They are the enemy of the Palestinian people.
April 8, 2015

ISIS has shown its true colours! They are the enemies of the Palestinian people!

Commentators around the world are appalled at the ISIS take-over of Yarmouk refugee camp, still home to around 18,000 Palestinians, and supposedly only a 10-minute bus ride from central Damascus.

The stories of brutal beheadings and other atrocities being committed by ISIS troops in Yarmouk are already emerging, along with concerns that this strategic battlefield success may empower the ISIS recruitment drive as they seem to be on the Syrian President’s doorstep. My reckoning though is that the attack on Yarmouk may have the opposite effect, and could  spell the beginning of the end for ISIS!

From a military perspective, the takeover of Yarmouk is no great threat to Damascus. When I was in Damascus in 2013 there were rebel forces on the edge of the city at multiple points.  They didn’t break through then and there’s no reason to assume that ISIS are going to succeed now where comparable forces have failed. Yarmouk itself has indeed been disputed territory for a number of years now which is why the Syrian Army sealed it off. This resulted in terrible suffering for the civilians remaining in Yarmouk but it simultaneously proved effective in stopping the advance of rebels into the capital.

Where the assault on Yarmouk could rebound negatively for ISIS is in the PR department.

The success of ISIS depends on their success in recruiting angry young Muslim men to their cause. There are no shortage of angry young Muslims around the world, of course, and this for very good reason. The US and its allies, including my country (Australia), have been on a murderous rampage across the Muslim world for more than twenty years, killing as many as 3.3 million Iraqis by some people’s reckoning, along with countless Afghans, Libyans, Syrians, etc. Mr Obama has indeed bombed no less than seven majority-Muslim countries since he took office! No wonder countless Muslim men and women feel angry, and no wonder so many young men are ready to fight for the one man who is standing up to the bloodthirsty West in the name of Allah!

Al Baghdadi has indeed succeeded in uniting many Muslim people under his banner. Even so, there is one other cause that resonates even more deeply with Muslim people everywhere. For the last generation there has been one thing that every Muslim in the world – from Iran to Yemen to Somalia to Indonesia – has in common. Every Muslim on the planet is opposed to the Palestinian Occupation! Support for the suffering Palestinian people is a fundamental part of what it means to be a Muslim in the 21st century, and now ISIS has started butchering Palestinians!

I don’t think we should underestimate the impact this may have worldwide on the ISIS recruitment drive. ISIS has shown itself to be the enemy of the Palestinian people!

I appreciate, of course, that relations between Palestinians and the Syrian government have also been strained in recent years, but it has always been a minority of Palestinians in Syria that are opposed to the Syrian government. Palestinian refugees receive full citizenship rights in Syria (unlike in Lebanon and Jordan) and many are open in their support of the Assad government. When  Khaled Meshaal and the Hamas leadership moved their headquarters from Damascus to Doha in 2012, this was not a reflection of broad Palestinian dissatisfaction with the Syrian government, but rather a reflection of the non-Palestinian forces controlling Hamas – namely, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Despite 2013 reports that Hamas was training rebel forces opposing the Syrian government, there has been no ongoing enmity between Palestinians and Bashar Al Assad. On the contrary, what we have seen in the last few days has been open cooperation between the Syrian Arab Army and Palestinian militias seeking to defend Yarmouk from ISIS, who are the real enemy!

ISIS has shown its true colours in the assault on Yarmouk. These people are not warriors of Allah, fighting to establish a holy state. They are brutal mercenaries, ready to sacrifice the lives of countless beleaguered Palestinians – men, women and children alike – for the sake of gaining a more strategic military position against the Syrian government.

The current humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk gives the Syrian government a significant opportunity to show itself to be a true friend and protector of the Palestinian people.  To an extent this is already happening (even though it is barely being reported).  Refugees fleeing in the direction of the Syrian Arab Army are being relocated to shelters, away from the fighting. We can only pray that this continues and that all civilians can extract themselves from the firing line.

ISIS, of course, are not going to want to let go of their human shields. Even so, the longer they use Palestinians as human shields, the more they betray their identity as Muslims!

Father Dave

http://prayersforsyria.com/isis-shows-its-true-colours-in-yarmouk-they-are-the-enemy-of-the-palestinian-people/

What’s really going on in Yarmouk?
April 29, 2015

Yarmouk is only a few kilometres south of Damascus. It was once a thriving centre of colour and life with a vibrant market that made it much more than just a Palestinian enclave. Over the last four years though it has been the centre of so much violence and death that it is April 29, 2015now the most festering wound on the ailing Syrian body. And perhaps

the most tragic dimension of Yarmouk at the moment is the way the suffering of these people is being manipulated to provide a new rationale for Western military intervention.

The dominant narrative at the moment is that ISIS, by lodging themselves in Yarmouk, are on the doorstep of the Presidential palace, threatening to take over Damascus! The Assad government, in response, is throwing everything it has at Yarmouk (including its notorious ‘barrel bombs’), killing rebels and civilians alike, in a desperate attempt to stave off the inevitable. The only hope for the poor people of Yarmouk (so the narrative goes) is to send in the Marines!

Of course the Marines don’t have a great track record when it comes to solving other peoples’ problems, especially in the Middle-East (think Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, …). Even so, if the people of Yarmouk are suffering at the hands of a reckless government in its death throes, can we really expect our benign super-powers to sit on their hands?

My thought was that I needed to get to Yarmouk to see for myself what was going on, and we got there.

We got to within about 300 meters of the border anyway, where the Syrian military made sure we stopped. We could see the front line from where we were but, as our guides pointed out, this meant that ISIS snipers could see us too, and so we soon moved off from the main entrance road and entered a school on the government controlled side of the border where a number of Yarmouk residents were being housed as well as schooled.

We spent our first few hours there teaching the children to box. I appreciate that most people would see that as a crazy thing to do but the kids certainly enjoyed themselves. There was lots of laughter and cheering as young and old put on the gloves and learnt how to throw punches against the pads without hurting their hands (which is not as easy as some think).

After we’d exhausted ourselves playing we sat down with the Principal of the school and some of the elders of the camp and talked, while enjoying the obligatory coffee that always accompanies such meetings.

From our day at Yarmouk, and through subsequent discussions with local Palestinians and with others in Damascus who knew what they were talking about, I came to some pretty firm conclusions about the situation in Yarmouk and, as I expected, the truth is pretty much the reverse of what we’re being told.

The Syrian Arab Army are not the chief villains in this drama. On the contrary, the Yarmouk residents that we met were being housed and fed by that army, and the children that we saw treated the army men like benign uncles. Indeed, when one of the officers who was with us put on the gloves and started throwing punches, all the children started cheering for him!

This is what I’d expected to find, as I’d spent time in a similar encampment for displaced persons from Yarmouk almost exactly 12 months earlier. There again we’d met hundreds of children, all of whom had been relocated to safe places by the army, and we’d taught them to box.

So let’s be clear on a few points:

  • Firstly, Syrian Army never enters Yarmouk. This isn’t contested by anyone on the ground. The army may work inside Yarmouk through their proxies in the Palestinian militia but army personnel never enter the camp themselves.
  • Likewise, the army does not shell Yarmouk. Clearly the Assad government does not want to be remembered for murdering Palestinians.
  • Finally (and predictably) those who are fleeing Yarmouk are running in the direction of the Syrian army in order to escape ISIS. They aren’t running to ISIS in order to escape the Syrian army. And the army is finding shelter and protection for the fleeing residents.

This is not to say that every Palestinian loves the Syrian army or the Assad government. Indeed, one Palestinian man I spoke to swore that the army had deliberately shelled ISIS in such a way as to force them into Yarmouk! “Why would they do that?” I asked? “In order to bring ISIS into contact with their other great enemy, Hamas, so that they would destroy each other”.

Whether or not that guy was right, his analysis highlights the absurdity of the other side of the media narrative. ISIS are not threatening the Presidential palace from Yarmouk. On the contrary, whether by design or by good fortune, the Syrian army is probably quite pleased to have ISIS in Yarmouk.

There are apparently only around 2000 ISIS militants in Yarmouk in total, and even with superior weapons (being channeled in from Qatar) it seems that they can still be contained by the Palestinian factions opposing them, let alone the Syrian army who have been containing rebels within Yarmouk for a number of years now. The residents have paid a terrible price for that, but the strategy has certainly been effective in protecting the capital.

And so the big lie needs to be turned on its head. The people of Yarmouk are not suffering at the hands of the Syrian army. They are suffering, but the Syrian Arab Army is probably the best friend they have at the moment.

And the army is not about to be overrun by ISIS troops streaming out of Yarmouk. That’s not to say that the army isn’t in trouble. Indeed, they have real problems to deal with in Aleppo and Idlib, but Yarmouk is a relatively minor headache.

In truth, I’m not sure what more can be done for the people of Yarmouk or for the Syrian army. One thing I am sure about though is that we don’t need the Marines, or any more foreign military intervention in Syria. Indeed, the further away our military stays the better are the chances for the people of Yarmouk and for the country as a whole.

Father Dave

http://prayersforsyria.com/whats-really-going-on-in-yarmouk/

Flashback to March 29, 2011: Over 6 million people marched across Syria in support of President al-Assad

By Cem Ertür
Global Research, March 30, 2015

Huge demonstrations in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were held across Syria two weeks after the launch of the NATO-led covert war on Syria on March 16, 2011.

It is worth bearing in mind that back then the overall population of Syria was around 22,5 million in March 2011. Apart few exceptions, the al-Manar report below was totally ignored by the western mainstream and “alternative” media alike.

2 million Syrians marched in Damascus in support of President Bashar al-Assad on March 29th, 2011

excerpt from:  ‘Million-Man March’ in Support for Assad

by Batoul Wehbe, al-Manar, 29 March 2011

Millions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporters poured into the country’s streets in a show of support for their leader calling their protests “loyalty to the homeland”.

Sources told Al-Manar TV that there are about two million protesters in Damascus, another two in Aleppo, a million in Hamah, a million in Homos and hundred of thousands in other cities.

All roads leading to Sabeh Bahrat (“Seven Seas”) square in Damascus were cut off by police, as men, women and children raised Syrian flags and pictures of [President Bashar al] Assad and his father, late president Hafez al-Assad.

Syrian state TV reported on Tuesday that Al-Assad accepted the resignation of the Syrian government.

Protesters across the country were chanting slogans in support of the President, who pledged to make reforms in the country and is expected to deliver a speech tonight addressing the nation and especially Daraa people who suffered much lately.

http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?fromval=3&cid=21&frid=23&seccatid=20&eid=8163

http://www.globalresearch.ca/flashback-to-march-29-2011-over-6-million-people-marched-across-syria-in-support-of-president-al-assad/5439442

Against the US regime change operation: The Syrian people spoke, and they want to keep Assad

How do we stop this machine of death? That’s the question! I’m not sure, but I am sure that one of the initial steps will be learning to respect the rights of a people to control who their own elected officials are and, in this case, this means respecting the fact that the Syrian people have chosen to stick with Bashar Al-Assad!

This is from last year, June 19, 2014, after the election.

From Prayers for Syria.com
By Father Dave

I did not vote for Bashar Al-Assad.

I didn’t vote in the Syrian elections at all because I am not Syrian! If I had been Syrian I don’t know if I would have voted for Assad. I really didn’t take a close look at the persons running against him, and why would I? I’m not Syrian!

As an Australian, it’s none of my business to decide who runs Syria! Why can’t the rest of the non-Syrian world accept this simple fact – that who holds public office in Syria is not our decision? Moreover, the Syrian people have spoken unambiguously as to whom they want running their country. Assad scored roughly 90% of the vote!

To those who have labelled the election as farcical and illegitimate, a few pointers:

Firstly, the voter turnout was incredible! Apparently 72% of those who were able to vote did vote and, according to my friends who went to Syria as neutral observers of the election, there was no evidence of coercion or fraud.

Secondly, while those who voted from within Syria were all from government-controlled areas, that actually accounts for about 90% of all Syrians still living in Syria. Government forces now control all of the major cities. It’s only the outlying rural villages that are controlled by the rebels now.

Moreover, the six million Syrians who have been displaced – either internally or as refugees in Lebanon and Jordan – are almost all from rebel-controlled areas. Syrians aren’t fleeing government-controlled cities. They are fleeing from the rebel-controlled areas to the government-controlled cities.

Thirdly, the voter turnout in countries like Lebanon was extraordinary! Millions of refugees cast their vote, and they voted overwhelmingly for Assad!  The Western media had no explanation for this so they simply ignored it!

Of course those who refuse to accept the outcome of the election are not Syrians but are more likely to be Americans.

John Kerry said that the very idea of holding an election during a civil war was outrageous. I guess he was relying on the fact that there are now no Americans still living who can remember the re-election of Abraham Lincoln who won his second term right in the middle of the bloody US Civil War. I can’t imagine Kerry thinks that the non-participation of the Confederates in that election (almost all of whom would have voted against Lincoln) delegitimised it, even though Confederates made up one third of the total population!

In truth, I don’t think we can take the U.S.A. seriously any more as an arbitrator of electoral fairness (if we ever could). We’ve recently watched Washing give its imprimatur to sham elections in both Egypt and the Ukraine, where empty voting booths in both cases testified to the vacuous nature of these attempts to give respectability to governments that had seized power by military coup.

No. The response of the US to the Syrian election is entirely reminiscent of their response to the election of Hamas in Palestine in 2006. There was really no question that the results were fair and representative of the will of the people. The problem, so far as Washington was concerned, was simply that the people had elected the wrong candidate.

Of course the problem in the case of Syria is that there was no US-preferred candidate on the ballot papers! If things had been different and if Obama had been given the green light to carpet-bomb Damascus last year we would ended up with Syrians being given a choice between a handful of US puppets, with none of the key rebel groups (let alone Assad supporters) being allowed to participate!

So this is where we are up to in what we call the ‘War on Terror’, or was it the ‘Battle for Democracy and Freedom’, or was it the ‘Civilizing of the pagan world’? No … I think that last one was either the Nazis or the crusaders (or both). Either way, it’s the same rampaging machine of imperial violence that has cursed humanity in every age, wearing, as ever, that same transparent veil of self-righteous moralism.

How do we stop this machine of death? That’s the question! I’m not sure, but I am sure that one of the initial steps will be learning to respect the rights of a people to control who their own elected officials are and, in this case, this means respecting the fact that the Syrian people have chosen to stick with Bashar Al-Assad!

Father Dave
Parish Priest, Professional Boxer, Community Worker, Agitator
www.fatherdave.org…
www.prayersforsyria.com…
www.israelandpalestine.org…

http://prayersforsyria.com/the-syrian-people-have-spoken-and-they-want-to-keep-assad/

WSJ report: Israel treating Al-Nusra terrorists wounded in Syrian conflict

From Farsi News Agency, March 14, 2014

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israel has opened its borders with Syria in order to provide medical treatment to al-Nusra terrorists wounded in the ongoing war, a new report said.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that al-Nusra Front, which is currently fighting the Syrian government, “hasn’t bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer” along the Golan Heights.

“Those (Takfiri) elements who control some two-thirds to 90% of the border on the Golan aren’t attacking Israel. This gives you some basis to think that they understand who their real enemy is – maybe it isn’t Israel,” Amos Yadlin the former military intelligence chief said.

Back in January, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Israeli military is obviously supporting terrorist groups in Syria by conducting airstrikes in the crisis-hit country.

“Whenever we make advances in some place, they (the Israelis) attack in order to undermine the army. It’s very clear,” Assad stated.

“Some in Syria joke: “How can you say that al-Qaeda doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force,” he added.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931223001274

Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2015

Al Qaeda a Lesser Evil? Syria War Pulls U.S., Israel Apart;
Mountaintop on edge of Golan Heights illustrates complexities

[Requires a subscription]

http://www.wsj.com/ articles/ al-qaeda-a-lesser-evil-syria-war-pulls-u-s-israel-apart-1426169708

From Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2015

Israel has opened its borders with Syria in order to provide medical treatment to Nusra Front and al-Qaida fighters wounded in the ongoing civil war, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The prominent American newspaper reported that Nusra Front, the Sunni Muslim al-Qaida offshoot which is currently fighting the Iranian-backed axis of Bashar Assad and Hezbollah, “hasn’t bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer” along the Golan Heights.

While Israel views al-Qaida and its allies as enemies, it is far more disturbed by what it views as an even bigger menace – Iran and its proxies. According to The Wall Street Journal, this attitude has caused tension with the United States, which has also targeted al-Qaida and Nusra Front fighters in Syria.

Amos Yadlin, the former military intelligence chief who is currently in the running to be defense minister should the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, succeed in defeating incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the elections next week, told the Journal that Hezbollah and Iran “are the major threat to Israel, much more than the radical Sunni Islamists, who are also an enemy.”

“Those Sunni elements who control some two-thirds to 90% of the border on the Golan aren’t attacking Israel. This gives you some basis to think that they understand who is their real enemy – maybe it isn’t Israel,” Yadlin is quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying.

The fact that the Israel-Syria border area along the Golan Heights has remained largely quiet has sparked accusations among supporters of embattled President Bashar Assad that the Sunni Islamist alliance, which includes al-Qaida, is backed by Israel.

“Some in Syria joke: ‘How can you say that al-Qaida doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force’,” Assad told Foreign Affairs magazine earlier this year. “They are supporting the rebels in Syria. It is very clear.”

Israel has denied actively aiding al-Qaida, though it makes no secret of its determination to thwart Hezbollah’s attempts to establish a foothold near the Golan frontier from whence it could harass the North.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has stated repeatedly his contention that Iran is seeking to open a new front against Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights.

Earlier this year, an air strike attributed by international media reports to Israel struck and killed 12 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah operatives in Quneitra, Syria, near the Israeli border.

In retaliation, Hezbollah guerillas launched a missile attack near the Har Dov region straddling the Lebanon-Israel border weeks later, killing two Israeli soldiers.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, which has claimed the lives of upwards of 200,000 people, Israel has provided medical assistance to nearly 2,000 Syrians.

The Wall Street Journal quoted “an Israeli military official” who said that most of those treated were armed rebels fighting the regime.

“We don’t ask who they are, we don’t do any screening,” the official said. “Once the treatment is done, we take them back to the border and they go on their way.”

Report: Israel treating al-Qaida fighters wounded in Syria civil war
http://www.jpost.com/ Middle-East/ Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighters-wounded-in-Syria-civil-war-3 93862