Israel launched an unscheduled military exercise on the Golan Sunday, June 10. Thousands of army reservists were ordered to report for immediate duty with full gear and come directly from their homes and work places. That the sudden IDF announcement did not set a timeline for the exercise’s ending indicated that it was prompted by the Syrian military announcement on the same morning of a major army offensive impending this week in the Quneitra region opposite Israel’s Golan border. The announcement also referred to a twin offensive against the Daraa province on the Jordanian border. The units taking part were named as the Syrian army’s 4th armored division for Quneitra and the “Tiger Force,” backed by 4th division elements, for the Daraa operation.
Israel’s Golan exercise was announced in order to deter the Syrian offensive.
DEBKAfile reported earlier that Bashar Assad ordered his army to go forward this week in the light of the failure of the talks in Helsinki on Friday between the Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s General Staff, to reach agreement on the Syrian question.
Our military sources report that Israel’s armed forces can’t afford to take the chance of leaving the Quneitra front under Syrian military threat. The Damascus announcement omitted to mention its allies. However, according to DEBKAfile’s sources, the Syrian offensive is planned to take place in conjunction with Hizballah forces and the pro-Iranian Shiite Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas militia from Afghanistan, which fights under Revolutionary Guards officers who have already taken up position outside Quneitra.