In light of a foreseeable offensive by the Syrian military against rebels in the Daraa and Quneitra districts, Israeli officials have emphasized that they will not permit a single Syrian refugee to cross into Israel. That said, Israel is reportedly preparing to transfer large quantities of food and medical supplies to assist refugees on the Syrian side of the border. Meanwhile, a high-ranking security official noted that Jerusalem retains all options for action in the event that the Syrian offensive would threaten Israel’s interests and undermining the long-lasting cease-fire that was in place on the Golan Heights until 2011, prior to the Syrian civil war. Israeli officials believe that the current activity of the Syrian military in the Daraa district, which is located adjacent to the border with Jordan, is just a prelude to an all-out offensive. As of now the warfare is confined to the towns and villages at the outskirts of the district and is intended to pressure the rebels to switch sides and support the Assad regime. According to an Israeli assessments, the large-scale military operation, for which the Syrians have already deployed two divisions, is dependent on understandings reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the United States’ National Security Advisor John Bolton, which took place on Wednesday. The two set a meeting between President Putin and President Trump that will take place in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, on the 16th of July, and the Syria offensive is not expected to begin before that summit.
The Syrian offensive in Daraa and Quneitra, which is backed by Russia, and the expected takeover by the Assad regime of the Syrian side of the Golan border, were reportedly at the focus of a meeting that was held by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, at the end of May. During the meeting, it was made clear that Israel would not tolerate violations of the 1974 disengagement agreements, and would respond with force to any violation.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov claimed that, contrary to Israeli claims, Iran’s military presence in Syria was limited. in an interview to Israeli media, the Russian deputy Foreign Minister asserted that there was no justification for Israel’s air strikes on Syrian sovereign territory, further warning that these air strikes contravened international accords and served only to strengthen terrorism.