The highly strategic intersection of the Syrian, Israeli and Jordan borders, just east of the Golan, was captured by the Al Musanna Brigade of al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra on Passover Eve, Monday, March 25, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report.
This put the jihadists directly opposite 14 Israeli southern Golan villages and at a distance of 5-6 kilometers from one of Israel’s earliest kibbutzim, Ein Gev, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that this sensitive area fell to al Qaeda in a fierce battle waged with the Syrian army’s 5th Division in the village of Sham Al-Jawla. Control of this village has opened the way for the jihadists to reach the Syrian Golan sector from the south and for direct access to the Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian borders.
On a second front, al Qaeda fighters have seized control of Wadi ar-Ruqqad, a 70-kilometer long waterway which forms the Golan’s eastern boundary.
This wadi rises at a point north of Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan, flows south through a shallow gulch to become a waterfall which drops south west into a 20-kilometer basalt tunnel of which 6 kilometers run through Israeli territory. Ar Ruqqad waters then flow into the Yarmuk River up to the point where the Syrian, Israeli and Jordanian borders connect.
It is not the first time that the jihadists fighting with Syrian rebels have occupied positions abutting on Israeli soil, but this time they have gained control of one of its precious sources of water.