LONDON — The United States is pressuring Israel to attack the Syrian military in the Golan Heights.
Western diplomatic sources said the administration of President Barack Obama has urged Israel to stop a Syrian Army advance toward U.S.-trained rebels in the Golan Heights.
“The Americans want Israel to stop a Syrian column from reaching rebel-held areas of the Golan, particularly where the Jordanian-based jihadists are located,” a source told Middle East Newsline. The sources said this marked the first U.S. request for Israel’s military to intervene in Syria. They said Obama and his aides had repeatedly warned Israel to refrain from striking Syria, which transferred long-range rockets and air defense systems to Hizbullah in neighboring Lebanon.
The CIA has been training more than 1,000 rebels in Jordan in a program financed by Saudi Arabia. The rebels, blocked by Islamist militias in southern Syria, failed in two operations to establish strongholds in Syria.
The U.S.-trained rebels were said to have captured a Syrian Army outpost
at Tel Al Ahrar in the Golan Heights. The sources said the outpost contained 250 Jordanian-based fighters, with another 250 Islamist militia members in the rest of the Golan Heights. With the exception of Quneitra, the rebels were said to control most of the Syrian portion of the heights. which
amounts to 600 square kilometers.
At this point, Israel has not responded to the U.S. request. The sources
said Israel’s military and intelligence community did not want a
confrontation with the regime of President Bashar Assad as it eliminated
rebel strongholds throughout central and western Syria.
“An [Israeli] attack could lead to a regional war, just the kind that
Iran and Hizbullah might like right now,” another source said.