Syrian President Bashar Assad
JERUSALEM – Following what it views as a Hezbollah victory against the Jewish state, Syria is forming its own Hezbollah-like guerrilla organization to fight Israel in hopes of “liberating” the Golan Heights, according to a report aired yesterday on state-run Iranian television.
Last week, WorldNetDaily broke the story Syria is in the process of forming what an official from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath Party called the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights, a new “resistance” group that models itself after Hezbollah.
The official told WND the Front will attempt attacks to force Israel from the Golan Heights, strategic mountainous territory captured by the Jewish state after Syria used the terrain to attack Israel in 1967 and again in 1973. The Heights borders Israel, Syria and Lebanon and is claimed by Damascus.
Al-Alam Iranian television yesterday featured an interview with a man who identified himself as the leader of the new Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights. The man, whose features were blocked out, said his new group consists of “hundreds” of fighters who are currently training for guerilla-like raids against Israeli positions in and near the Golan. He claimed the Front has opened several training camps inside Syria.
Last week, the Baath party official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND Syria learned from Hezbollah’s military campaign against Israel the past month that “fighting” is more effective than peace negotiations with regard to gaining territory. He said Syria’s new guerilla force would be trained by Hezbollah leaders.
“Syria is very serious about establishing this new guerilla force,” the official said.
Hezbollah, which was embroiled in a month-long military confrontation with Israel, claims its goal is to liberate the Shebaa Farms, a small, 200-square-kilometer bloc situated between Syria, Lebanon and Israel. The Farms is the last post held by Israel after its withdrawal in 2000 from positions it took along the Lebanese border.
Most Western analysts agree Hezbollah uses the pretext of the Shebaa Farms to maintain its weapons to start conflicts with the Jewish state. Hezbollah is sponsored by Syria and Iran.
The cease-fire resolution accepted by Israel last week calls for negotiations leading to Israel’s relinquishing of the Shebaa Farms. The resolution sought to end fighting that broke out after Hezbollah ambushed an Israeli military patrol unit July 12, kidnapping two soldiers and killing eight others.
The Baath party official told WND the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights was formed last month. The official said the group currently consists of Syrian volunteers, many from the Syrian border with Turkey and from Palestinian refugee camps near Damascus. He said Syria held registration for volunteers to join the Front in June.
The official’s statements to WND came one day after Assad declared in a television address Hezbollah’s path of “resistance” achieved results during the last four weeks of fighting against Israel.
“The region has changed because of the achievements of the resistance [Hezbollah],” said Assad, speaking to a journalists association.
Assad said members of Hezbollah used their “will, determination and faith” to counter Israeli arms, enabling the Lebanese militia to defeat Israel.
“We tell them (Israelis) that after tasting humiliation in the latest battles, your weapons are not going to protect you – not your planes, or missiles or even your nuclear bombs. … The future generations in the Arab world will find a way to defeat Israel,” Assad said.
“The resistance is necessary as much as it is natural and legitimate,” said the Syrian president, claiming the war in Lebanon revealed the limitations of Israel’s military power.
“The result was more failure for Israel, its allies and masters,” said Assad.