Israel prepares for possible confrontation in Syria and launches surprise military drill in the Golan Heights

Anastasia Pr | 11 June, 2018

The Israeli occupation army launched surprised military training exercises in the Golan Heights on Sunday which are expected to continue for several days, according to Channel 2.

A spokesman for the Israeli army said that reservists were called up for the military drills, which will span several days. He emphasised that the exercises had been planned in advance in accordance with the 2018 training programme, and are aimed at ensuring the fitness and preparedness of the army’s forces.

According to media reports, the aim of the drills are to “test the preparedness and ability of the army in the Golan Heights to engage in [any] immediate and surprising battles on the Syrian front, and their capacity to switch from training to live combat immediately.”

The Golan Heights was transformed into a “battlefield” during the exercises. Soldiers were seen across a wide area and there was an increase in ground vehicular activity, with explosions heard throughout the day.  Forces were rushed from their army bases in Galilee and deployed to the Golan Heights area. Activities also spread to the Mediterranean, off the Israeli and Lebanese shores.

Channel 2 reported on another training exercise conducted by the Israeli Air Force which ended last Thursday after a period of several days. This included military training confrontation exercises on the northern and southern borders, and was aimed at sharpening the preparedness of Israeli Air Forces for a multifront war scenario. It [also] involved hundreds of warplanes and transport helicopters.

The training was accompanied by threats made by the Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, [who said] that “Israel will not allow any form of military presence of Iran or its militias in Syria”. 

Liberman added: “All we care about is a total evacuation - in its fullest meaning as a word - of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah group and others [from the area]. We are holding talks with the international community, including Russia and the United States, and our position is clear for all. When political means are exhausted and we have the necessary international support, for this purpose, we [will] have achieved our goal and are working to force them out. "

Lieberman stressed that there are a few hundred Iranians and Hezbollah fighters who serve as advisers within the regime's forces and are deployed in southern Syria. And even these will leave, according to the newspaper "Asharq Al-awsat".

The military exercises come amidst growing tensions in the Golan Heights, after Hezbollah rejected Russia’s demand to withdraw from the area following an Israeli push to eject the group from the region.

Since the 1967 war, Israel has occupied about 1,200 square kilometers of the Golan Heights, annexing them in 1981; whilst approximately 510 square kilometers remain in Syria’s hands. 

Translated By: Anastasia Pr