Attack on Syria rebel group in Golan could pose headache for Israel

At least 18 people were killed, among them the leader of the Revolutionary Command Council in Quneitra and Golan, in a village near the town of Quneitra.

March 4, 2016 17:55
1 minute read.

Syria bombing

Syria bombing


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An attack on a Syrian rebel group in the Golan Heights earlier this week could have security repercussions for Israel.

At least 18 people were killed, among them the leader of the Revolutionary Command Council in Quneitra and Golan, in a village near the town of Quneitra, which abuts the border fence that separates the Israeli and Syrian sides of the Golan Heights.

According to Al Jazeera, the organization's local finance office in al-Ashe was blown up by a car bomb on Wednesday despite a cease-fire negotiated by foreign powers. No one has yet to take responsibility for the attack.

The Revolutionary Command Council, which has been active in the area since 2013, is one of many anti-Assad groups operating near the border with Israel in a Syrian civil war marked by often-changing circumstances. The Revolutionary Command Council’s leader is Abdullah al-Bashir al-Noemi, who is also the current chief of staff of the Supreme Military Council, the central body of the Free Syrian Army.

A former Syrian army general, he is from the Noeimi tribe prominent in the Quneitra area, and according to reports his son was killed fighting in the area in 2013. He was appointed to his position with the Supreme Military Council in February 2014.

The Revolutionary Command Council, like the larger umbrella FSA it is in coalition with, presents itself as non-Islamist and opposed to the policies of groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida affiliate.

Increased attention has been drawn to the situation on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights since a mob killed a Syrian man in Majdal Shams, on the Israeli side of the Heights, on June 22. In a meeting with reporters on June 29, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Israel was in contact with Syrian rebels and that medical aid was being provided to them. But the condition for that aid was that the border remain quiet and that the rebels do not harm the Druse in Syria.

Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.

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