The highly strategic intersection of the Syrian, Israeli and Jordan borders, just east of the Golan, was captured by the Al Musanna Brigade of al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra on Passover Eve, Monday, March 25, debkafile’s exclusive sources report.
This put the jihadists directly opposite 14 Israeli southern Golan villages and at a distance of 5-6 kilometers from one of Israel’s earliest kibbutzim, Ein Gev, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
debkafile’s military sources report that this sensitive area fell to al Qaeda in a fierce battle waged with the Syrian army’s 5th Division in the village of Sham Al-Jawla. Control of this village has opened the way for the jihadists to reach the Syrian Golan sector from the south and for direct access to the Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian borders.
On a second front, al Qaeda fighters have seized control of Wadi ar-Ruqqad, a 70-kilometer long waterway which forms the Golan’s eastern boundary.
This wadi rises at a point north of Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan, flows south through a shallow gulch to become a waterfall which drops south west into a 20-kilometer basalt tunnel of which 6 kilometers run through Israeli territory. Ar Ruqqad waters then flow into the Yarmuk River up to the point where the Syrian, Israeli and Jordanian borders connect.
It is not the first time that the jihadists fighting with Syrian rebels have occupied positions abutting on Israeli soil, but this time they have gained control of one of its precious sources of water.
Israel and Jordan share out the Yarmouk waters under a pact they concluded which also covers the ar-Ruqqad tributary.
While most media attention in the West and Israel has been drawn to the threat posed by Syria’s chemical arsenal, al Qaeda’s descent on new, highly strategic ground affecting three nations has been ignored.
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry discussed at length in their talks in Jerusalem, Amman and Ankara the danger of chemical weapons falling into Islamist terrorist hands fighting with the rebels in Syria. Until a few hours ago, the two American visitors, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah were not fully apprised of al the Jabhat al Nusra’s rapid advance.
Before he left Amman for home Saturday, Obama received information that the Iraqi Al Qaeda front had begun preparing Chlorine gas-CI trucks ready to push across the border into Syria for the use of its Jabhat al Nusra partners.
This poisonous gas was used more than once for jihadist terrorist attacks inside Iraq. And this peril brought John Kerry hurrying over to Baghdad Sunday, March 24. He was not able to persuade Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to discontinue the Iranian airlift of weapons and troops to Assad through Iraqi skies, but he left al-Malilki with a grave warning that Washington would hold Baghdad responsible if any of the chorine gas trucks reached Syria.