- - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Quneitra is the long destroyed and mostly abandoned former Syrian capital of the Golan Heights. Israel occupies two-thirds of the Golan since capturing it decades ago during the 20th-century Arab Israeli wars. However, with Russian assistance, the Syrian Army under the control of Bashar Assad has become more capable and brazen.

Over the last few days Syria fired two SA-2 surface to air missiles against Israeli aircraft that have operated freely in Syrian airspace for some time due to Assad’s weakened condition during the Syrian Civil War. Israel routinely destroys weapons shipments into Syria that it fears will be a threat to the Jewish State. The IDF also routinely retaliates against artillery rounds or rockets fired from Syria that land on Israeli soil.

However, one thing is already clear: The firing of two S-200 surface-to-air missiles in the Quneitra region was not a coincidence. The Syrian army released an official statement on the incident. This is the first known instance of Assad’s army retaliating to Israeli military activity in Syrian territory since the country’s civil war began some five-and-a-half years ago, reports the Jerusalem Post.

There is a significance to this aggressive act. It means Syria is feeling stronger. Perhaps it will now turn its attention to Israel in coordination with the Iranian terror militia, Hezbollah. Again, the Jerusalem Post reports, it is clear that the missiles were intended to send a signal to Israel that this was not accidental fire ordered by a junior commander in charge of an anti-aircraft battery, but rather, the result of orders from the senior command. The incident bears witness to the growing confidence of Assad’s army, which is succeeding — for the most part because of Russian help — to expand its control in Syria (which is still only some 30 percent of the territory), and to cement the regime’s place as the opposition weakens and ISIS is at the beginning of the end.

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