“Although the fighters of the fundamental Islamic ISIS group are far from the Israeli border, preparations must be made for the situation to change, which can happen very quickly,” said Col. Nir Ben David, the deputy commander of the Golan regional brigade, in a meeting with military correspondents touring the northern border area on Sunday.
“Israel and the IDF are not involved in the war in Syria or along the border with Israel, but we are closely following all the developments so that we are not taken by surprise,” the senior military official in the Golan said. According to Ben David, “Everything that happens now in Syria is an internal Syrian matter that is not connected to us. Here it is calm and quiet, the Golan Heights is thriving and anyone can come and visit without being afraid.”
ISIS is a far away matter, he stressed. It is an issue for the Syrian regime on the Iraqi border. “We do not detect any ISIS presence in the front close to us. There are World Jihad fighters on our border, but they are not ISIS people. The situation can change quickly and in order that we not be taken by surprise, we are closely following all the developments.”
During a tour along the border, the official stressed that “Quneitra is quiet. But it has been very active recently and we clearly saw the Syrian army fighting with the rebels. We observe what is happening from the other side of the border, just a few meters away, walking distance from the orchards that we can see here on the Israeli side.”
Addressing the live fire towards Israeli territory from time to time, the officer said that “the IDF knows how to differentiate between intentional fire to errant fire from the battles in the Syrian Golan between Assad’s forces and the rebels. There’s a civil war going on in Syria between the regime, the army, the rebels and other groups that have joined the fray. The war is an internal Syrian matter and we hope it will conclude. The Syrians will decide what their future will be and what the future of this conflict will be.
“In general, the Syrian rebels are led by the Jabhath a Nusra group, which is affiliated with al-Qaida in Syria …”
Regarding the occasional errant fire, he noted that indeed, there have been a few incidents of cross border fire while the war was raging in Gaza. Most of the fire in the last month was not intentional. Anti-tank fire is not always classified as errant. “We know how to differentiate between the two, and sometimes, we even respond to errant fire. The response is not necessarily immediate. The intention is to react correctly, not quickly. If there is immediate danger, we react immediately. The purpose is that the war should stay there. Every rank in the arena has the authority to respond if he detects immediate danger. I attack a Syrian army post only if I know that there is a connection between the post and the fire. I will never attack a post for no reason. I go in only where I have to, and do not differentiate between rebels and regime; I respond when there’s a need and a danger is detected. When I see fighting on the border, I move my forces.”