On July 21, a unit of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) backed by three battle tanks stormed the town of Jubata al-Khashab in the southern Syrian governorate of al-Quneitra.
The unit advanced in the outskirts of the town and reached the area of Hursh al-Hurriyah. Some Syrian pro-opposition activists alleged a unit of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was operating in the area before the Israeli incursion. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
Jubata al-Khashab is located within the UN-monitored 235 square kilometer buffer zone in al-Quneitra, which was created under the 1974 separation of forces agreement.
This was not the first such Israeli intrusion this year. On June 1, an IDF unit backed by seven battle tanks and armored vehicles advanced some 400 meters to the west of the town of al-Hurriyah in al-Quneitra buffer zone. The unit destroyed fortifications of the SAA. Later on June 8, several battle tanks of the IDF advanced in the buffer zone and opened fire at an alleged observation post of the SAA near the town of al-Malgah.
The IDF’s new incursion was either meant to drive SAA troops out from Jubata al-Khashab, or to destroy the army’s posts near the town. The incursion represents a serious violation of the separation of forces agreement.
Israel is apparently trying to establish indirect control over al-Quneitra’s buffer zone. In order to achieve this, the IDF began accusing the SAA of violating the buffer zone just a few months ago. It is possible that the IDF is now planning a full blown invasion of the zone.
Source: South Front