Year 24
Month 06
Day 07
dividerNews ArchivedividerFP: «Israel» Secretly Arming Thousands of Militants in Southern Syria
FP: «Israel» Secretly Arming Thousands of Militants in Southern Syria

Foreign Policy Magazine revealed that “Israel” secretly armed and funded at least 12 militant groups in southern Syria, according to more than two dozen commanders and rank-and-file members of these groups.

 

The military transfers, which ended in July of this year, included assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles. “Israeli” security agencies delivered the weapons through three gates connecting the “Israeli”-occupied Golan Heights to Syria.

“Israel” also provided salaries to militants, paying each one about $75 a month, and supplied additional money the groups used to buy arms on the Syrian black market, according to militants and local journalists.

The payments, along with the service “Israel” was getting in return, created an expectation that “Israel” would intercede if Syrian Army continued to advance in southern Syria.

“This is a lesson we will not forget about “Israel”. It does not care about … the people. It does not care about humanity. All it cares about it its own interests,” said Y., a militant from one of the groups, Forsan al-Jolan.

“Israel” has tried to keep its relationship with the groups a secret. Though some publications have reported on it, the interviews Foreign Policy conducted with militia members for this story provide the most detailed account yet of “Israel’s” support for the terrorist groups. All the militants spoke on the condition that their names and factions not be revealed.

Two of the groups “Israel” supported have been publicly identified—Forsan al-Jolan (the Golan Knights), a faction based in the border town of Jubata al-Khashab in Quneitra, and Liwaa Omar bin al-Khattab, based in Beit Jinn, a town bordering Mount Hermon.

According to terrorists in southern Syria, these commanders would communicate with “Israeli” officials by phone and occasionally meet them face to face in the “Israeli”-occupied Golan. When commanders switched groups and locations, “Israeli” assistance followed them. On the other hand, when commanders were killed or removed from their position due to internal power struggles, “Israeli” assistance to their former factions was halted.

Forsan al-Jolan was “Israel’s” preferred group. Last year, it added several hundred militants to its ranks due to an increase in “Israeli” financing, according to members of the faction. It also served as a distributor of weaponry supplied from “Israel” to other groups. This allowed the group to have an outsized influence both in Quneitra and the nearby Daraa governorate.

One local community leader from western Daraa who agreed to be identified only as Abu Khaled said he soon realized that relying on “Israel” had been a mistake.


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