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Early Monday, Syrian shells again, for the third day, spilled over into the Israeli Golan from battles on the Syrian side of the border. The explosions were heard widely from the northern part of the territory.
The Syrian army’s general command Sunday night warned Israel against continuing its cross border attacks, in response to Israel’s reprisals for two days of Syrian spillover mortar fire on the Golan. The Syrians stressed that the “Israeli enemy” would be held responsible for “the dangerous consequences of repeated actions of this kind” and went on to say: “After Syrian military forces succeeded to thwarting an attack by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the Al-Baath district of Quneitra, the Israel enemy conducted repeated attacks on our military posts in support of the terrorists in order to raise their morale.” The Syrian general command went on to warn Israel of the “dangers of those aggressive operations for which the Israeli enemy will bear grave consequences.” The statement added that the Syrian army was determined to defeat the terrorist organizations which it termed “an arm of the Israeli enemy in the region.”
Israel on Sunday declared its Golan border opposite the southern Syrian city of Quneitra a closed military zone after two straight days of attacks on regime assets in response to spillover fire from the Syrian civil war. This was defined as a “precautionary measure” which instructed civilians to refrain from entering and gathering in open areas adjacent to the Syrian border, the IDF announced.
In the last 48 hours, Israel has conducted air strikes on and aimed tank fire at Syrian army positions near Quneitra’s northern suburb of Baath city. (See map). The mortar shells that exploded on the Israeli Golan came from a battle in which Syrian and Hizballah units were fighting off a Syrian rebel offensive around Quneitra, just 3km from the Israeli border.
In the face of strong warnings by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Syrian mortars again spilled over to the Golan Sunday for the second day in a row. There was no damage or casualties this time too. IDF tanks opened fire on Syrian positions in the Quneitra area, which the Israeli air force targeted the day before. Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu stated at the weekly cabinet meeting: “Our policy is clear. We will not tolerate any kind of 'trickle, not of mortars, rockets, or spillover fire [from the Syrian Civil War]. We shall respond forcefully to every attack.”
Netanyahu also repeated: “We also view with utmost gravity Iran's attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria as well as its attempts to arm Hezbollah – via Syria and Lebanon – with advanced weaponry.
Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister ever to visit Israel when he arrives next week to celebrate the burgeoning economic, defense, and arms development ties between the two countries. The Israeli cabinet Sunday approved measures for boosting exports, deepening cooperation in agricultural and water projects, establishing a joint research and development fund and enhancing tourism from India, which has for years been a popular getaway destination for young Israelis.
Under heavy pressure from the ultra-Orthodox ministers, the Israeli cabinet led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday revoked the January 2016 accord with non-Orthodox Jewish communities worldwide for a space at the Western Wall outside the men-only Orthodox area for free, egalitarian worship. There were only two dissenters, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Energy Yuval Steinitz, who warned that the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel and the Diaspora would bitterly resent the divisive decision. The Western Wall in Jerusalem is held by all Jewish communities as its holiest shrine. The government action just beat the Monday deadline for the High Court of Justice to rule on petitions against the government ,for failing to uphold the 2016 agreement and slowing construction work at the southern section of the Wall dedicated to pluralistic worship.
In both Egypt and Iran, security forces Saturday nabbed ISIS terror gangs on their way to strike religious sites. In the Egyptian town of Alexandria, a group of six was about to conduct a double suicide attack on a local church and then hit the emergency responders. In Iran, several ISIS gangs were caught before they attacked religious sites across the country. They were in possession of firearms, bomb vests and explosives. The announcement in Tehran did not elaborate on the timing or location of the detentions.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Saturday night that IDF actions had made it clear time and again that Israel does not tolerate the trickle of fire from any foreign warfront and pushes back forcefully. He spoke after an Israel air strike was conducted against a Syrian position near Quneitra Saturday in response to two Syrian mortar shells flying into the Golan an exploding – albeit harmlessly. A similar response came from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
In reprisal for the errant mortar fire on the Golan Saturday, the Israeli air force struck Syrian positions near Quneitra, destroying at least one and knocking out two tanks.
Police cleared weekend trippers from the popular Golan sites in northern Israel after two mortar shells from battles across the Syrian border landed on open ground in the enclave. There were no casualties or damage.
A new Russian base is under construction in southeastern Syria at a small village called Khirbet Ras Al-Wa’r in the Bir al-Qasab district (see map.). It brings the Russian foothold to its most easterly point in Syria with a handle for controlling the volatile region, where American-backed and Iranian-backed forces are bidding for dominance from a point not far from the US garrison and the Israeli border.
They are struggling to control their allies in rival bids to dominate S. Syria.
The Syrian-Hizballah push for the Jordanian and Israeli border districts is slowed by the Daraa setback.
Hizballah’s boast of Iranian missiles able to reach every Israeli target fades.
Even the possible death of its “caliph” Baghdadi will not stop ISIS global terror.
Ayman Zawahiri tempts the Brotherhood with a chance to save itself by cooperation in Syria.
The Saudi king’s decision to elevate his son Mohammed bin Salman, 31, to crown prince and heir to the throne, in place of his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef as part of a broad reshuffle, is not merely the internal affair of the royal hierarchy, but a game-changing international event. The king’s son is ready to step into his allotted place in a new US-Arab-Israeli alliance established by President Trump in May, along with the UAE, Egyptian and Israeli leaders.
Tuesday night, June 20, a terrorist detonated a bomb belt at the Brussels central train station, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” Police shot him dead. The explosion was small and there were no victims this time, but it was the second Islamic State attack in West Europe in two days, following through on its announced Ramadan offensive, despite setbacks in Syria and Iraq.
Moscow Monday, June 19, issued a sharp warning to the United States over its operations in Syria: "Any aircraft, including planes and drones belonging to the international coalition operating west of the Euphrates River will be targeted." This ramped up Russian-US military tensions in Syria to an unprecented level.