Syrian al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra continues to make deep inroads in capturing territory south of Damascus, and its troops now control much of the foothills of the Golan Heights.
Nusra fighters seized a hilltop position within view of Israel’s border forces, and rose the flag of al-Qaeda over the area. The civil war has finally put al-Qaeda forces directly on Israel’s frontier.
Though Syrian government forces have chased the Islamist faction out of most of metro Damascus and even the area up to the Lebanon border, they have largely left the Syrian-held portion of Golan lightly defended.
This has been the case for more than a year now, since Israel began talking up the idea of invading Golan themselves to establish a new “buffer zone” from the civil war on their border. Syria’s military likely feels it isn’t worth fighting over land that Israel is liable to take anyhow.
The region along the Israeli and Jordanian borders amounts to most of Jabhat al-Nusra’s real territorial possession these days, as they have lost most of their significant northern strongholds to rival al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in bloody battles. AQI is mostly unseen on the southern front, where Nusra is fighting alongside US-armed rebels infiltrating from Jordan.
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