In an unusual public declaration on Friday, the Israeli military announced it would thwart a potential takeover of a Syrian Druze town by jihadists.
The IDF statement came after a Nusra Front suicide bomber killed at least nine people in Hader, which is located just across the border from Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights.
Heavy fighting between Assad regime forces and rebel groups was reported in the area following the attack.
On the Israeli side of the border, hundreds of Druze held a demonstration to show solidarity with their brethren in distress only a few kilometers away.
The IDF said Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and other top officers had conducted a situational assessment about what was transpiring in Hader.
Furthermore, the Israeli military denied rumors it was assisting jihadists in the Golan region. “The IDF is prepared and ready to assist the residents of the village and prevent damage to or capture of Hader, out of a commitment to the Druze population,” it said.
Since the civil war in Syria erupted in 2011, Israel has largely sought to remain neutral in the bloody conflict. However, the IDF has responded with pinpoint strikes to occasional cross-border fire — both errant and intentional — in the Golan Heights and has reportedly bombed a number of Hezbollah-bound arms convoys and other targets in Syria tied to the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shia terror group in recent years.
Israel has also provided medical treatment to thousands of people wounded in the fighting in Syria.
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Barney Breen-Portnoy