Syrian planes bomb border post near Israel

2014-08-28 17:24
File: AP

File: AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Amman - Syrian jets shelled rebel positions near a border crossing close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that was seized by rebels in some of the heaviest clashes in the strategic area this year, rebels and residents said on Thursday.

Al-Qaeda's Syria wing Nusra alongside moderate rebel groups who had launched the attack early on Wednesday on the border post were "holding ground" despite the heavy bombardment, according to a source in the Islamist Beit al Maqdis brigade, whose fighters were involved in the fighting.

Abu Iyas al Horani, a spokesperson for another rebel group operating in the area, said at least six rebels were killed in the latest spillover of violence in the area that lies almost 20km west of the town of Quneitra, the main urban centre, which is under state control.

The crossing is monitored by the United Nations, which oversees traffic between the two enemy countries, but the distance between the two warring adversaries' posts is some 200 metres.

During the fighting, two Israelis were wounded by stray bullets, a soldier and a civilian, both in the Golan Heights. Israel responded with artillery fire at two Syrian army positions, the Israeli military said on Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 Syrian soldiers and 14 rebel fighters were killed in the clashes. The organisation gathers information from all sides in the Syrian war.

Growing rebel presence

A UN spokesperson earlier said the organisation's peacekeepers could not confirm whether the rebels had seized the crossing, "as fighting is ongoing" at one of its gates.

Rebels, who included al-Qaeda inspired militants hostile to the Jewish state, last year briefly took the Quneitra border crossing with Israel and now control many villages in the area.

Hundreds of Nusra fighters who fled from the eastern Deir al-Zor province after being driven out by their hardline rival, the Islamic State, earlier this year have regrouped in southern Syria, boosting a growing rebel presence in that area, activists say.

Earlier this year, Nusra and its allies seized several army bases near the town of Nawa, one of the biggest rebel gains in the south during the three years of Syria's war.

The advances in the south were important not just because they expand rebel control close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the Jordanian border, but because Assad's power base in Damascus lies just 65km to the north.

Rebels say a stretched Syrian army fighting on several fronts that has already lost control of large parts of the countryside in southern Syria wants to ensure it does not lose control of the towns of Nawa and Quneitra in the Golan foothills and the city of Deraa, along the border with Jordan.

The southern front's potential as a launchpad for an offensive against the capital means it could ultimately pose the main challenge to Assad.

Rebels have repeatedly launched several offensives aimed at ultimately advancing towards the capital Damascus but they complain lack of sufficient support by Assad's Western and Gulf enemies has prevented them from making real progress.

Read more on:    un  |  al-qaeda  |  syria  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.