The only parties on the move are Iran and Hizballah.
At the end of the week, DEBKAfile’s military sources report that both established a military presence in Syria and Lebanon, just across Israel’s two northern borders. An Iranian airlift placed Iranian boots on the ground in Syria for the first time in more than two years of its civil war. It was also the first time Israel had ever seen uniformed Iranian soldiers present at close quarters on the soil of a close neighbor.
The arrivals are members of the violent Basij volunteer militia which is trained in urban combat tactics for suppressing anti-regime unrest in Iranian cities. They are the first Iranian troops to confront Syrian rebels in combat. Roughly 6,000-8,000 militiamen have arrived so far – a figure comparable to the size of the Hizhballah elite units fighting for Bashar Assad in Syria.
The Basij militiamen were stationed in Damascus and sent to guard Syrian Shiite border villages situated opposite Hizballah-controlled South Lebanon. This deployment has placed Iranian troops opposite the intersection of the Israeli, Syrian and Lebanese borders.
Iran’s expanding military intervention in Syria accounts partly for this week’s surprise call-up of thousands of Israeli reservists for duty on the country’s northern borders. Although they were sent home after 24 hours to disguise their mission and calm rising tensions, they were in fact ordered to report back Sunday, May 5. These reservists will then pick up the gear and weapons needed for real combat, and take up positions along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Sirens blared over parts of the Golan Friday, May 3, their sensors touched off by the preparations for these military movements. The official pretext offered of a “technical glitch” was about as convincing as the Israeli military spokesman’s attempt to deny knowing who sent a drone from Beirut towards Israel on April 25.
The sirens on the Golan were apparently not loud enough to be heard in Washington and Jerusalem.