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Beit Jinn Falls to Syrian-Hizbullah-Iranian-Led Force, Now 5 km from Israeli Border.

By DEBKAfile

The strategic Beit Jinn enclave was allowed to fall and the Syrian rebel defenders to capitulate -- without IDF intervention. The Syrian-Hizbullah-Iranian led attackers completed their capture of the Beit Jinn enclave on Tuesday, Dec. 26, forcing the Syrian rebel defenders to capitulate and gaining close access to Israel's northern border and the Quneitra pocket of the Golan.

For their final push, the attackers were reinforced Sunday by Hizbullah troops from Lebanon and the Syrian army's Golan Regiment militia. The Beit Jinn enclave faces the IDF's Mt. Hermon positions and is 11 km from the Israeli border. Its fall is critical to the fate of the Quneitra region opposite the Israeli Golan.

DEBKAfile's military sources estimate that the only way the rebels can escape the Syrian-Hizbullah crunch is by going on the offensive against the Druze village of Hader to break open an escape route to the southwest. But the obstacle there is a pledge which Israel gave Israeli Druze leaders in November not to allow rebel forces to attack Hader. The pledge was given in the wake of violent Druze riots on the Golan and threats from Israeli Druze, some of whom hold high military ranks in the IDF, to cross the border and defend Hader themselves.

This Israeli pledge to its Druze citizens is the strongest card the Syrian, Hizbullah and Iranian forces are wielding to compel the Hayat al-Tahrir al-Sham to surrender. After that, the three forces would move in and take up positions in the captured Beit Jinn enclave, and gain a jumping-off pad against Israel and its Hermon outpost. The way this affair is playing out makes naught of Israel's government and military leaders' solemn vow to keep Iran and Hizbullah far from its borders.

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Dec 27, 2017
Words:291
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