The Islamic State released a clip this week warning rebel groups on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights — on the border with Israel — that the organization has set its sights on the area and plans to control it.
This is the first time the group has publicly stated its intention to take over the Syrian Golan, currently primarily in the hands of various Syrian rebel groups.
“I advise you to beware,” an IS fighter is seen in the clip as saying, according to a Channel 2 translation. “Why are you fighting under an unknown flag? Why do you not adhere to the laws of Allah and fly his flag?”
“The groups you belong to… have joined the infidels and received aid from them and [together] operate out of a command room in Amman,” the IS gunman went on, in reference to the US-led coalition against the group which routinely carries out airstrikes on its positions in Iraq.
The Golan Heights, on the Syrian side of the border, is primarily in rebel hands. An Israeli officer speaking to military correspondents this week described the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra as sitting “on the fence” and said that the radical Sunni group has positions “100 yards” from Israel’s border. The Free Syrian Army, he said, “is spread out.”
The Islamic State’s nearest known position to the Syrian Golan is some 50-60 kilometers away. Last week, according to Channel 2, the group took over towns 60 kilometers from Quneitra.
According to military assessments, IS fighters continue to advance westward toward the Israeli border.