Israel will be unsuccessful in keeping Hezbollah off the Golan Heights, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Sunday. In what amounted to a direct admission that Hezbollah terrorists were aiding Syrian army troops against rebels, Muallem said that “the efforts of Israel to create a buffer zone on the Golan will not succeed, thanks to the 'popular uprising.' It will fail as the attempt to keep Hezbollah away from the Lebanese border failed,” Muallem was quoted by Iran's al-Alam television as saying.
In December, IDF forces eliminated Jihad Mughniyeh, said to be Hezbollah's “commander of the Golan Heights area,” along with a crew of Hezbollah terrorists, and Iranian general Abu Ali Tabtabai. The group was touring the Golan border area, and Israeli officials believe they were in the process of setting up terror attacks to be launched at Israel from the area. Israeli security officials later dispatched a message to Hezbollah, warning the terror group to stay away from the Golan.
Israel can attack all it wants, said al-Muallem, but in the end, the “popular opposition” – generally used as a code word for terror groups, in this case Hezbollah – would eventually win out. “There is an effort by the Syrian army and the popular opposition to keep out the al-Nusra terror group, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda in Syria,” he said. “Israel's plan is to help them. Syria's alliance with Hezbollah in the effort against terror in Syria was one of the group's smartest decisions.”
In general, Syria has been very cagey about admitting its alliance with Hezbollah, admitting it only on very rare occasions, and only in the Arabic media.