Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Jabhat al-Nusra, led a Syrian rebel operation Wednesday, March 13, to occupy Golan and cleanse it of every last Syrian troop loyal to Bashar Assad. The Islamists had two more objectives:
1. To be in position for cross-border attacks on Israel and Jordan – possibly in the course of US President Barack Obama’s March 20-22 visits to those countries.
2. To use the “liberated” Syrian Golan as launching pads for a war of attrition against Israel and Jordan – like Taliban’s campaign against NATO forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their deadline for achieving this objective is March 15.
Jabhat al-Nusra kicked off its Golan operation Wednesday, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, by murdering Gen. Nour e-Din Habib, commander of the Syrian Army’s 90th Brigade, parts of which remain on the Golan. He was struck down from a well-planned ambush against his convoy. Also killed in the attack was Col. Radouan Rifai, the brigade’s senior liaison officer with the Syrian 3rd Extended Division.
The purpose of the attack was to disable the brigade by wiping out its top command.
Our military sources add that, in the course of the fighting Wednesday, the Nusra front uncovered a secret network of large tunnels running from different points on the Golan up to the Israeli border. They are big enough for the passage of entire Syrian units with their tanks and heavy trucks, allowing them to pop up without warning against Israeli border units and use their surprise to mow them down and advance into the Israeli sector.