Israeli security officials said Wednesday that they had uncovered a Hezbollah terror infrastructure operating on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border fence. The infrastructure, which consists of terrorist cells, bunkers, and other structures and resources, was built secretly, apparently without the knowledge of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The purpose is to open a new front against Israel from which terror attacks can be launched, the officials said.
The project is funded by Iran, the officials said, and was built with the assistance of Iranian experts. The officials said that the IDF had already been aware that something was afoot last summer, as increased activity was noticed on the Syrian side of the border. Hezbollah has invested a great deal of money in the project, and that is one reason the organization is strapped for cash, they said.
Some of that money went to pay workers to build bunkers, buildings and other resources used by the terror group, the officials said. Most of the residents of the Syrian Golan are not Shi’ite Muslims and thus not necessarily supporters of Hezbollah, but many worked on the project because of their difficult economic situation.
The Syrian army was largely unaware of the Hezbollah efforts, the officials said. In the wake of the Syrian civil war, the the army’s control over southern Syria is weak, and in order to work uninterrupted, Hezbollah set up phony fronts affiliated with Syrian militias that are approved by the government. The group also established a unit made up of Christians and Druze, whose job was to spy on Israel and gather data on IDF activities. Another group working under Hezbollah’s authority was based on secular activists who ostensibly sought to fight on behalf of the Syrian government. All these were established by Hezbollah and used by the group to allow the establishment and development of its infrastructure without interference by the Syrian army or government. The project is headed by Hezbollah terrorist Abu Hassin-Sajad, who is based in Beirut.
While Israel has attacked some parts of the infrastructure, security experts told Yisrael Hayom that this time, the IDF had chosen not to attack the infrastructure – as it did several years ago, when Hezbollah tried the same thing, under the command of Imad Murghniyeh and Samir Kuntar – but to expose it, complete with details, maps and so on. The Israeli move puts Assad on the spot, as he has claimed that there is no terror activity taking place on Syrian territory. The Israeli revelations also gives the IDF a justification for attacking the Hezbollah positions if any terror attacks or missile attacks do take place, they added.