Israel Threatens to Enter Syrian Civil War to Defend Arab Village from Jihadists

Syria’s civil war is straying into Israel, again. Israeli signpost showing distance between Israel, Syria in Golan Heights. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Israelis on Friday threatened to intervene militarily in Syria to defend an Arab Druze village near the Israeli border, which is under assault by the jihadist Nusra Front. The Druze ethnic group counts villages in Israel, Syria, and Lebanon as home territory, with Israel having a special relationship with the minority community that includes Druze members of the IDF.

Haaretz reported that after intense fighting in the Syrian village of Hader, roughly two miles (three kilometers) from the Israeli border, the IDF issued a statement saying, “The IDF is prepared and ready to help the villagers and prevent damage or occupation of the village out of a commitment to the Druze population.” According to an assessment in the Haaretz report, if Israeli needs to get involved in the conflict, it would involve air force strikes and artillery.

Fighting in Hader has already impacted Israel. The IDF Spokesperson posted to Twitter that “due to intense fighting in Hader, Syria, shots were fired at Israel. Israeli civilian injured. The IDF is following developments in the area.”

In a separate post, the IDF Spokesperson tweeted that “the IDF is coordinating the protection of Hader with leaders of the Druze community and is following developments on the Golan Heights.”

On the Israeli side of the border, Haaretz reported that Israeli security forces had to block roads to the border fence out of concern that members of the Israeli Druze community might try to breach the fence to go and fight alongside their Syrian brothers.

Ironically, the Nusra Front that Israel could end up fighting is actually among the Syrian rebels fighting against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, an enemy of Israel. As a result, battling the Nusra Front could indirectly help Assad and his Iranian allies in the Syrian civil war.

With Israel trying to balance helping the allies of their friends and getting dragged into a messy and multi-tiered civil war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to his nation’s complicated responsibilities on Friday during his trip to London.

“We are continuing to maintain security, all the time,” Said the Israeli leader in comments released by his office. “We are also guarding our borders, our southern border and our northern border. We are also maintaining our admiration for our Druze brothers.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 5, 2017)


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