Iran persuaded Syrian President Bashar Assad to allow Hezbollah to open a new front from which to attack Israel in the Golan Heights, Israel Radio reported Wednesday citing a report by the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat.
According the report, an Iranian source told the newspaper that Tehran is determined to prevent the fall of Assad's regime in Damascus, because the Syrian president has been convinced to open the Golan to all Arabs and Muslim wanting to fight Israel.
The report follows similar claims last week that following alleged Israeli air strikes near Damascus, Syrian
authorities considered allowing Palestinian armed groups to launch attacks
against Israel across the Golan Heights border, as reported by Syrian daily Al Watan.
According to the report, the initiative was set to be
discussed in upcoming meetings between Syria and Palestinian faction leaders,
said Khalid Abd al-Majid, secretary-general of the Palestinian Popular Struggle
In light of recent developments, Syria has the “right and duty to
respond using all available means,” Majid was reported as saying.
faction is close to the Syrian regime, and the strength of the forces under his
control is subject to dispute.
Prof. Eyal Zisser – an expert on Syria at
Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center – told The Jerusalem Post he doubts the
report because there is no real presence of strong Palestinian forces that would
be able to carry out such an attack.
However, Zisser did not rule out the
possibility that Assad might attack Israel in an
indirect manner, via a third party.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the UN General Assembly was set to vote on a draft resolution that condemns Syrian authorities and accepts the opposition Syrian National Coalition as party to a potential political transition.
Ariel Ben Solomon, Michael Wilner, Reuters contributed to this report.