[Editor’s note: The Golan Heights must be returned to Syria in the same manner that the Sinai has been returned to Egypt. Illegal Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights must be removed. From Wikipedia for Historical Background:
Internationally recognized as Syrian territory, the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel since 1967. It was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War, establishing the Purple Line.On 19 June 1967, the Israeli cabinet voted to return the Golan to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement, although this was rejected after theKhartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967. In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel agreed to return about 5% of the territory to Syrian civilian control. This part was incorporated into a demilitarised zone that runs along the ceasefire line and extends eastward. This strip is under the military control of UNDOF.Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in UN Resolution 497, which said that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”
from Russia Insider, via Haaretz:
Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Barack Obama, during their one-on-one meeting in New York early Tuesday, that he was concerned about the Israeli attacks in Syria. He was apparently not referring to the Israeli missiles in the Golan Heights, fired earlier in the week at two artillery positions of the Syrian army in the wake of stray fire into Israeli territory from battles between the rebels and the Syrian army.
Rather, Putin’s statement was more general, referring to over 10 strikes in Syrian territory that have been attributed to Israel over the past two and a half years.
It showed that despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in Moscow last week, Russia intends to create new facts on the ground in Syria that will include restricting Israel’s freedom of movement in Syrian skies.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Israel does not coordinate its actions in the north with Russia. “We have interests, and when they are threatened we act and we will continue to act, and that was also made clear to the president of Russia. We have no intention of giving up our ability to protect our interests and I advise that we not be tested,” Ya’alon said, adding, “We will continue to defend our red lines.”
The Russian combat aircraft that were stationed at the beginning of the month in northwestern Syria have still not taken an active part in significant aerial attacks against Islamic State targets. Russian air crews are busy collecting intelligence and testing the command and control array that was established at a base near Latakia, in the area under the control of the Assad regime.
Anti-aircraft batteries have been deployed at the base, but so far the Russians have not engaged with any of the other air forces active in the area.
The assessment of Israel and Western states that are monitoring the situation is that as long as the Russian activity is limited to aerial strikes, without the participation of ground troops, its military efficacy against Islamic State will also be limited. Successes in the fight against the Islamic State groubt have come only when both air and ground assaults were carried out, as in the U.S.-led coalition’s strikes in northeastern Syria, with support from Kurdish ground troops.
Battles resume across the border
Fighting between the Syrian army and rebel groups was renewed this week northeast of Quneitra, around the last areas that Assad’s regime still holds near the Israeli border. The battles are taking place around the line of fortifications separating Quneitra from the village of Haddad and the Syrian part of Mount Hermon in the Golan, connected by a fairly narrow corridor to the capital city of Damascus.
The Syrian regime fears that rebel groups are trying to capture the corridor in order to interrupt the regime’s territorial contiguity and create their own contiguous territories south of the capital. To that end, the Syrian army is preparing to battle along the line of fortifications. Neither side’s actions are directed against Israel.
Israel’s main concern is over the increased Iranian presence near the border, including the systematic dispatch of local terror squads to carry out attacks in Israeli territory. The last such attack was in August, when a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell fired rockets at the Galilee and the Israeli Golan Heights. The heads of the Iranian-directed cell were killed the next day in an Israeli air strike on the Syrian side of the Golan border.