WHO IS FIGHTING WHOM IN SYRIA – AND WHERE DOES ISRAEL FIT IN?

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WHO IS FIGHTING WHOM IN SYRIA – AND WHERE DOES ISRAEL FIT IN?

Mesaj Scris de ILUMINATI la data de Joi Dec 10, 2015 11:01 pm

For four bitter years, the Syrian civil war has been raging less than a mile from Israeli-held territory (Jake Wallis Simons writes). But aside from the occasional exchange of fire, the Jewish State has so far avoided being dragged into the conflict.
Nonetheless, Israel has significant interests at stake in the hostilities. Most obviously, it does not want to see Iranian influence creeping close to its borders, as this could have serious security repercussions. 
A senior intelligence officer told MailOnline that Israel also concerned about Hezbollah's role in the Syrian conflict, as the Lebanese militia is gaining valuable combat experience that may strengthen its future operations against Israel.
Below is a summary of the main military actors in Syria, and what each one means for Israel.
Assad's troops: The Syrian ruler's forces are now only operational in his stronghold in western Syria, but they are now beginning to regain territory with the help of Russian air support. Israel has fought three bitter wars with Syria, and sees it as a longstanding enemy. 
Iran: Officially, the theocracy denies that it has combat personnel engaged in Syria. But analyses of military burials suggests that at least 100 members of the Revolutionary Guards and the elite Quds Force have been killed in action in the country since January 2013, and its financial and logistical support of Assad is significant. Iran is by far Israel's most powerful foe, having repeatedly threatened to destroy the Jewish State. Given the large sums of money that will flow into Iran following the lifting of Western sanctions, its deep involvement in Syria is of grave concern to Israel.
Hezbollah: The Shia Lebanese guerrilla organisation has formidable capabilities, and works hand-in-glove with Iran in Syria. It is one of Israel's most deadly enemies, having kidnapped a number of Israeli soldiers and fought several debilitating conflicts with the Jewish State.
Russia: Officially on friendly terms with Israel, Vladimir Putin nonetheless threw his hat into the ring on the side of Assad in September. The US says Russia has been mostly targeting the 'moderate' opposition, but this may have changed since ISIS downed the Russian Airbus A321 in Egypt on 31 October, killing all 224 people on board. Nonetheless, Russia's main priority is to prop up Assad.
ISIS: The brutal jihadi group, which has become the number one enemy of the West since it mounted attacks in Paris in November, controls areas of Iraq and Syria which is home to five million people and is thought to earn more than $2billion a year. In October, the group released a video in Hebrew in which it promised that 'not one Jew will be left in Jerusalem'. But it currently does not occupy territory in immediate reach of the Israeli border.
Saudi Arabia: The Gulf monarchy is the principal financial backer of the Sunni militia who are fighting Assad , including the Army of Conquest, a group of Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda. It is engaged in a long-term struggle for supremacy with Iran, and is also fighting Iranian-backed Shia forces in Yemen. It is understood that Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states have a working relationship with Israel, which is hated on the Arab street. Israel has recently opened its first ever diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Shia militia: Iran has mobilised a multinational network of Shia militias in Syria, which analysts believe serves as Iran's 'Foreign Legion', fighting the Sunni networks of ISIS and al-Qaeda. This includes Shia fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these militiamen are informed by Iran's loathing of Israel, even if they do not necessarily share it to the same extent.
Al Qaeda: Various AQ affiliate groups are fighting Assad in Syria, including the feared al-Nusra Front, also known as the Syrian Al Qaeda. This group attacked Druze villages in southern Syria, angering Israeli Druze on the other side of the border. As a result, two alleged al-Nusra fighters who were being treated in Israel were lynched by Israeli Druze in June 2015.
The Kurds: This proud people has been fighting for an independent Kurdistan for decades, and is currently engaged in a bloody war with ISIS. Kurdish forces are comprised of a number of disparate militia such as the YPG (supported by Syrian Turkmen Brigades) and the PKK, which is locked in an armed struggle with Turkey. The Kurds have long been on friendly terms with Israel, which supports their desire for independence.
Turkey: The country is preoccupied with combating the Turkish Kurds in northern Syria, and has conducted airstrikes against them, as well as against ISIS. It has also provided arms and logistical support to the Free Syrian Army, and wishes to see Assad deposed. Relations between Turkey and Israel were derailed in 2010, when eight Turkish nationals and an American-Turkish activist were killed by Israeli commandos in international waters when they attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The relationship has been repaired to a large extent since.
Moderate Syrian rebels: A range of militias opposed to Assad are referred to generally as the Free Syrian Army. David Cameron has placed their numbers at about 70,000, but doubts remain about how unified they are, given the fact that they do not share a central command structure and operate in different parts of the country. They have no immediate desire to fight Israel, but share the general hatred of the Jewish state that dominates in Syria.
United States: The Obama administration failed to attack Assad when he crossed the 'red line' of using chemical weapons in 2014. However, it has conducted significant air operations against ISIS, the al Nusra Front and other jihadi groups. The US is a staunch ally of Israel, though relations have been strained in recent years due to differences between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the settlement policy on the West Bank.
France: Following the Paris terror attacks, France has played a leading role in rallying support for Western strikes on ISIS, and has significantly stepped up its own air operations. Large numbers of French Jews have emigrated to Israel in the wake of terror attacks against Jewish targets in France. The French Government was one of the first to recognise the Jewish State in 1948, but also strongly supports the Palestinian right to self-determination.
United Kingdom: The RAF has been bombing ISIS in Iraq since September 2014. After Parliament rejected military strikes against Assad in 2013, British involvement in Syria was limited to logistical support. The vote to approve airstrikes in Syria in December changed that, and the UK is now carrying out fierce air assaults on ISIS in Syria as well as Iraq. Britain is a longstanding friend of Israel, though Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, has a reputation for hostility towards the Jewish State. 




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