The latest offensive by an ISIS-allied group in the tri-border region of southwest Syria, Israel and Jordan has quickly captured 4 villages and is currently endangering the Syrian city of Daraa, whose southwest suburb is already under ISIS control.
BY Roi Kais
ISIS-affiliated groups opened a major offensive in the tri-nation border of Israel, Syria and Jordan, attacking various rebel factions and have managed to take control of four villages—Adwan, Saham al-Jawlan, Jalin and Tasil—in addition to the strategic southwestern suburb of Daraa, which is the capital of Hauran.
Areas change hands somewhat frequently, but a rapid victory on this scale has not been seen in some time. This could be one of the reasons why the Golan-area “Khaled ibn Al-Walid Army” has been getting a lot of screen time on ISIS media outlets.
Images of fighters along with looted villages and graphic images of dead rebels—including those belonging to Islamist factions—have been published and documented.
Ahrar al-Sham, one of the Salafist groups fighting the ISIS affiliates, admitted to losing fighters in the area of Hait, which appears to be the focal point of fighting between the two groups.
On the third day of fighting, the Amaq News Agency reported that 104 rebel fighters had been killed and ISIS was maintaining control of the villages despite fighting raging in other areas.
The leader of the Khaled ibn Al-Walid Army—an amalgam of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the Islamic Muthanna Movement and the Army of Jihad—is Abu Mohammad al-Magdisi, a Palestinian by birth.
Despite the focus of ISIS being on other rebel groups in the area, Israel and Jordan are both watching events in the area closely, with the prospect of ISIS gaining more control in the area worrying to both countries.
IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, addressed the Syrian front Wednesday during a meeting with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset. According to Eisenkot, it is possible that by spring, the fight for control of the Syrian Golan will begin anew. “The Israeli interest,” said Eisenkot, “is that the other side be orderly, so that foreign forces will be gone and UNDOF will return.”
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