Jerusalem — Tensions have risen along Syria’s
now-volatile southern border with Israel after an exchange of artillery
fire in the Golan Heights. The flare-up came as Syrian forces battled to
regain control of the strategic border town of Qusayr inside Syria.
The Israel Defence Force returned fire into Syria after a
military jeep was damaged by shots fired by Syrian armed forces
overnight, prompting both countries to lodge a complaint with the UN.
It is the latest in a string of cross border incidents that
have led to rising tensions in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights,
peaking earlier this month when Israel launched air strikes inside
Syria, allegedly on advanced weapons bound for Hezbollah.
And while some analysts say the Syrian Government has made
significant progress in its attempt to regain as much opposition-held
ground as possible before US and Russia-backed peace talks scheduled for
next month, others say it is simply part of the constantly shifting
fortunes of the conflict.
”The Assad regime is regaining ground,” said one Syria
analyst who did not want to be named. ”If things continue as they are
now it is quite possible that Assad will stay in power.”
Others urged caution in analysing the last three days of
battle, with Mona Yacoubian, a senior Middle East advisor at the
Washington-based Stimson Centre warning Syria would likely continue to
be trapped in a ”deadly stalemate”.
”To view this as a turning point where the revolution will
wither on the vine … would be wrong – this is offensive and
counter-offensive and what this means is more misery and more death,”
”The regime is consolidating control in Damascus and along
strategic corridors mainly through Homs and to the coast, there is no
doubt about it… however, I do not see opposition-controlled areas in
north and east going back to regime control.”
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