Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

UN force runs away from Israel border as al Qaeda-linked group makes gains

    A Filipino commander applauds on hearing his men survived a seven-hour siege
    A Filipino commander applauds on hearing his men survived a seven-hour siege

    Rebels captured the town of Kuneitra on Israel's border with Syria last Thursday, and now control the crossing nearby.

    The victory signals a change in the status quo which has existed on the border since the end of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

    This was not the first time rebel forces managed to capture the Kuneitra area; last time they were subsequently dislodged by the Syrian army. This time, however, it seems that they have succeeded in establishing a more permanent presence.

    The only crossing between Israel and Syria, serving mainly Druze residents of the Golan, will not be reopened any time soon.

    One significant repercussion of the rebel victory is the rapid disintegration of the UN Disengagement Force (Undof) on the Golan.

    Forty-four Fijian Undof soldiers were captured over the weekend by the al-Qaeda-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, and are being held at undisclosed location.

    Meanwhile, over 100 Filipino Undof soldiers succeeded in escaping from a rebel-held area across the border to Israeli territory, having held off a siege for seven hours. "We may call it the greatest escape," General Gregorio Pio Catapang told reporters in Manila.

    It is unclear what role the force that has separated Israeli and Syrian armies on the Golan will fulfil from now on - and whether the participating nations will allow their soldiers to continue operating in the region.

    The separation agreement between Israel and Syria, which kept the peace on the Golan for over four decades, has lost its meaning now with the Syrian army no longer in control of their side of the border. Israel has to get used to new neighbours who are less predictable and more hostile.

    So far, most of the incidents on the border have been the result of misfiring. The two Israelis were wounded last week were not directly targeted, but that could change. On Sunday, a drone, most likely sent by the Syrian army to monitor the rebels, strayed across the border and was shot down by an Israeli anti-aircraft Patriot missile.

    Not all the rebels are radical Islamists. Some of the groups, including the one that has taken control of the crossing, are aligned with the moderate Free Syrian Army. Israel has reinforced its forces on the Golan over the past two years, adding a new divisional headquarters and rebuilding large sections of the border fence.

World

Trump to crackdown on Iran and its "terrorist minions", says Pence

JC Reporter

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump to crackdown on Iran and its "terrorist minions", says Pence
World

It's Chanucah Song time!

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Chanucah Song time!
World

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...

JC Reporter

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...
World

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris
World

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...

Sonia Zhuravlyova

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...
World

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...

Toby Axelrod

Thursday, December 1, 2016

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...
World

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss

Daniel Sugarman

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss
World

Australian abuse report

Henry Benjamin

Australian abuse report
World

Fire-ravaged Israelis ‘may no longer be married...

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fire-ravaged Israelis ‘may no longer be married...