Israel is fighting off Iranian expansion across the Middle East, but danger for the Jewish state lurks near its own borders. Painstaking work by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their loyal proxies has succeeded in laying the groundwork for a second Iranian front with Israel in the Golan Heights.
The first front is to Israel’s north in South Lebanon. The Golan, which Israel won from Syria in 1967, lies further east. Though Israel rules the skies, the Syrian land adjoining Israel’s border appears increasingly to belong to Iran. Reports from both Israelis and Syrian opposition groups have revealed glimpses of the methods the Iranians and their allies have employed to build a military infrastructure on the Syrian side of the Golan.
One is “The Iranian Conquest of Syria,” a report published last month by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The authors are two retired senior Israeli military intelligence officers, Brig. Gen. Shimon Shapira and Col. Jacques Neriah. They explain how Iranian and Hezbollah fighters have crept methodically westward from the Syrian lava field of Lajat, 40 miles from the Golan Heights in Syria’s southwest, to the broken nation’s Quneitra province, which is even closer.
The Iranian element, made up of the Revolutionary Guard, Lebanese Hezbollah and the local Syrians they have recruited, is tightly woven into the border villages and the official Syrian security forces. That much is clear from the locations of the four permanent bases used by Lebanese Hezbollah in southwest Syria. One is at Al Haraq, within an area controlled and maintained by the Syrian army’s 52nd Brigade. Two others are in the Lajat area. These are used to train locally recruited fighters and store short- and medium-range missiles.
The fourth base is in Quneitra, outside Al Hadr, about 3 miles from the Israeli border. According to the Israeli researchers, the base is protected by the Quneitra Hawks Brigade, which is part of the Syrian National Defense Forces, a reserve army established by Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. The base is situated within a position of the Syrian army’s 90th Brigade and used mainly for intelligence gathering and eavesdropping.
Source » iranbriefing