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ISIS Just One Element of Chaos on Israeli-Syrian Border

IDF soldier on lookout on Israeli-Syrian border (Photo: flickr/IDF)

Last week, Stand for Israel told you about skirmishes between the IDF and the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group that occurred along Israel's border with Syria. While ISIS certainly looms as a major threat to the Jewish state, JNS' Ariel Ben Solomon reports that Israel faces many other enemies to its north, as well:

Israeli forces killed four fighters from the Islamic State-affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade Nov. 27 after the terrorists had fired at Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers in the Golan Heights border region. The exchange drew significant attention because it was the first report of an Islamic State attack on Israel from Syria.

Islamic State has previously threatened Israel, but until now the terror group did not appear to open such a front at the Israel-Syria border. Yet despite the numerous news headlines that followed the Islamic State attack, the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade does not have nearly as large of a footprint in the region as Hezbollah or its patron, Iran, which have been increasing their presence in Syria to back President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in that country’s civil war. 

The IDF estimates that about 120,000 Hezbollah rockets are aimed at Israel. Hezbollah has a full-blown army with around 45,000 members, 21,000 of whom are regularly in service, Haaretz reported in July. By contrast, the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade has between 600 and 1,000 fighters, according to a report in The Economist in January. The report quoted Israeli officers as calling the brigades “Daesh lite,” using an alternative name for Islamic State.

Given that Hezbollah’s forces amount to a far greater security threat to Israel, the Islamic State attack may have been no more than an effort by the jihadist group to distract from its losses in Syria and Iraq...

Tags: Syria

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