If you want to know what’s happening there, read up…
The big flick on what’s happening is that the Syrian regime is moving forces into Daraa Province in southwestern Syria, next to the Golan Heights, in preparation for a major push to drive out the Free Syrian Army rebels and the ISIS enclave clinging tenaciously to its border position within range of the Quneitra crossing.
Rockets from Gaza: Iran, Israel, and the Great Crossroads at the precipice
Dozens and dozens of mortars and rockets were launched at civilian targets in Israel from Gaza on Monday and Tuesday, marking the biggest such barrage since 2014.
In all, by Tuesday evening, the count was at least 120 projectiles. A number of them were intercepted by Iron Dome (although many of the shorter-range mortars would have had too low a trajectory for Iron Dome to react to). A live blog is being maintained by Jewish Press here.
Hamas reportedly launched the initial volley on Monday, 28 May. Responsibility for the ensuing onslaught was claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iran-backed terror group founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose attacks in the last 24 hours Hamas acknowledges authorizing.
Israel has responded in the usual way with air attacks on Hamas and PIJ targets in Gaza. A bigger, more sustained response is predictable if the rocket and mortar assault resumes.
The larger strategic situation is likely to dictate Israel’s follow-on actions, however. Surprisingly little is being made of that bigger picture – at least as it appears from here – although Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to it in statements on Tuesday.
This move has significant implications for the approach to Israel from Syrian territory. And that’s why, with Israel as a stakeholder in the outcome of the fight, the other outside powers – Iran, Russia, Jordan, and the U.S. – have been scurrying around over the last week trying to shape conditions and events.
The position of the United States is that we will not allow the Assad regime to entrench Iran-backed forces next to the Golan Heights, in the area now occupied by ISIS and FSA forces. A de-escalation zone has been in effect there, brokered by the U.S. and Russia, since November 2017, and the State Department invoked the zone’s importance in a statement on Friday, emphasizing that we expect Assad not to violate the de-escalation status quo by launching a new assault.