The Middle East Channel

Syrian regime and rebel forces clash in the Golan Heights

Syrian rebel forces reported took control on Thursday of the sole border crossing operated by United Nations peacekeeping forces in the disputed Golan Heights along the cease-fire line between Israel and Syria. Shortly after, there were reports that Syrian government forces had retaken the Quneitra crossing, however it is unclear who now has control. According ...

AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

Syrian rebel forces reported took control on Thursday of the sole border crossing operated by United Nations peacekeeping forces in the disputed Golan Heights along the cease-fire line between Israel and Syria. Shortly after, there were reports that Syrian government forces had retaken the Quneitra crossing, however it is unclear who now has control. According to Syrian state news agency, SANA, regime fighters had "repelled terrorist groups" that had "tried" to take over the Quneitra border crossing. Israeli media also reported Syrian forces has control of the crossing. However, according to Ahmad al-Basheer, a member of the local revolutionary committee in Quneitra, the crossing remained under rebel control and the Quneitra province had been "liberated." The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there was "a campaign of simultaneous attacks" against government checkpoints in Quneitra province and said there were clashes in the village of Qahtaniya, near the old town of Quneitra. The fighting was reportedly contained to the Syrian side, however an Israeli military official said two mortar shells landed in Israeli territory Thursday morning. Meanwhile, a day after Syrian forces and Hezbollah fighters seized control of Qusayr, the strategic town near Syria's border with Lebanon, Syrian forces have begun pushing toward nearby villages, clashing with opposition fighters around Debaa and Buwayda. Further escalating concerns over spillover into neighboring Lebanon, several rockets hit the Hezbollah strong hold of Baalbek late Wednesday. Heavy fighting was also reported in the suburbs of Damascus, where government forces are working to push opposition fighters away from the capital.

Headlines

Protests continued across Turkey ahead of Prime Minister Erdogan's return from North Africa, with clashes in the capital Ankara and the eastern province of Tunceli. At least 14 people, including 10 border guards, were killed by gunmen at a fake security checkpoint near the Iraqi town of al-Nukhaib in the western Anbar province. Three European women, members of the feminist group Femen, went on trial in Tunis charged with debauchery for holding a topless anti-Islamist protest while three other members of the group were expelled from Tunisia on Wednesday.

Syrian rebel forces reported took control on Thursday of the sole border crossing operated by United Nations peacekeeping forces in the disputed Golan Heights along the cease-fire line between Israel and Syria. Shortly after, there were reports that Syrian government forces had retaken the Quneitra crossing, however it is unclear who now has control. According to Syrian state news agency, SANA, regime fighters had "repelled terrorist groups" that had "tried" to take over the Quneitra border crossing. Israeli media also reported Syrian forces has control of the crossing. However, according to Ahmad al-Basheer, a member of the local revolutionary committee in Quneitra, the crossing remained under rebel control and the Quneitra province had been "liberated." The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there was "a campaign of simultaneous attacks" against government checkpoints in Quneitra province and said there were clashes in the village of Qahtaniya, near the old town of Quneitra. The fighting was reportedly contained to the Syrian side, however an Israeli military official said two mortar shells landed in Israeli territory Thursday morning. Meanwhile, a day after Syrian forces and Hezbollah fighters seized control of Qusayr, the strategic town near Syria’s border with Lebanon, Syrian forces have begun pushing toward nearby villages, clashing with opposition fighters around Debaa and Buwayda. Further escalating concerns over spillover into neighboring Lebanon, several rockets hit the Hezbollah strong hold of Baalbek late Wednesday. Heavy fighting was also reported in the suburbs of Damascus, where government forces are working to push opposition fighters away from the capital.

Headlines

  • Protests continued across Turkey ahead of Prime Minister Erdogan’s return from North Africa, with clashes in the capital Ankara and the eastern province of Tunceli.
  • At least 14 people, including 10 border guards, were killed by gunmen at a fake security checkpoint near the Iraqi town of al-Nukhaib in the western Anbar province.
  • Three European women, members of the feminist group Femen, went on trial in Tunis charged with debauchery for holding a topless anti-Islamist protest while three other members of the group were expelled from Tunisia on Wednesday.
<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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