Israel Frets Disbanding of Syrian Militia Based Along Golan Border

Officials fear Iran will increase presence

Israeli media are playing up government concerns about the disbanding of Syria’s Eighth Brigade, a militia that has been working with the Syrian military in the ongoing war, and was bankrolled and armed by Russia.

The Eighth Brigade had about 10,000 fighters, mostly former rebels looking to take a Russian paycheck. The faction was involved in fighting against other rebel groups in south Syria, not far from the Israeli-occupied Golan.

Israel has made no bones about its problems with all pro-Syria factions, but is now concerned that the Eighth Brigade being disbanded opens the door for Iran to replace them in the area. This is in spite of there being no evidence this will happen.

Indeed, the whole reason Russia is disbanding the brigade is because they brokered a peace deal in the south, so the fighters aren’t needed. It is unlikely these fighters will be replaced at all.

There is no sign Israel had a positive relationship with the Russian-funded group, and they’ve got problems with Russia’s role in Syria, and Russia has loudly objected to repeated Israeli attacks.

So suddenly, the concern is a mythical Iranian surge, underscoring that Israeli officials can make anything about Iran.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of