Israeli army 'preparing for Syria operation'

Israeli army 'preparing for Syria operation'
The Israeli army has been conducted large-scale military exercises on its northern border, which analysts say could foreshadow potential ground operations within Syria.
2 min read
19 August, 2015
Israel fears armed groups will launch attacks from across the Syrian border [Getty]

The Israeli army is preparing for a large-scale ground operation inside Syria to defend its northern border, Israeli TV stations have reported.

Channels 2 and 10 reported a large-scale military exercise was underway along the country's northern border in the contested Golan Heights, which involved rehearsing for a possible invasion of Syrian territory and the evacuation of nearby border settlements.

Syria is embroiled in a bloody civil war and the Syrian regime has ceded control of the country's southern border with Israel to rebel groups.

Israel reportedly fears militant groups will use Syrian territory to attack it.

Among the groups Israel fears may launch an attack from Syrian territory is Hizballah, a pro-Assad Lebanese group active in the Syrian civil war.

Israel is also reportedly concerned about a possible attack from Iranian elements present in Syria, who also support the Syrian regime.

Among the rebel groups Israel reportedly fears might launch an attack on Israel in the future is the Islamic State group, which at the moment has a small presence in the region south of the capital Damascus.

Israel has in the past provided medical treatment to wounded fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Israel has used the chaos engulfing its northern neighbour to launch attacks against targets in Syria on a number of occasions since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011.

Among other targets, it has destroyed what was alleged to be a shipment of missiles bound for Hizballah near Damascus in January 2013, and a convoy on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in January this year, which is believed to have killed a senior commander in the Iranian-backed group.

The Lebanese group retaliated in an attack that killed two Israeli soldiers.