“Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.” (Psalms 27:3)
A senior source in the IDF told Israeli media outlets that the Mount Hermon Brigade, the IDF brigade which sits closest to the Syrian border, is preparing to counter combined terrorist attacks from Iranian-backed forces in Syria.
According to the anonymous source, the brigade has been training to respond to a variety of attack scenarios, including a combined attack which could include simultaneous border bombs, rockets, attempted kidnappings of soldiers and possible anti-tank missile fire.
“There is someone who gets up every morning and asks, how can I carry out an attack on Israel? Most of the time, they run into great difficulties,” he said.
The forces are backed by the Iranian-led radical axis of Sunni Muslims in and around the Druze village of Khadr. This is the only area on the border of Israel which is currently controlled by pro-Assad forces. The rest of the area along the Israeli-Syrian border is in the hands of a variety of Sunni rebels that are fighting against the Assad regime.
Exchanges of fire between the two groups occur on a daily basis while the Hermon Brigade soldiers watch from their mountain outposts. Israel is unwilling to get dragged into the Syrian civil war that has continued since the Arab Spring revolts in 2011.
The IDF continues to monitor the area to prevent spillover from the war culminating in attacks against Israel. Since the Russian air force has begun providing air support to the Assad regime, the Syrian military, under the control of Assad, and other pro-Assad forces have become assertive and have retaken several posts along the border with Israel.
Though Israel has provided medical support to some of the civilians from the village of Khadr, there are still many forces at work that wish to lash out and attack Israel.
“The other side thinks carefully about whether it wants to open a front against Israel. We are the fortified wall that will not allow this front to open,” the military source said. “Every breach [of our security] receives a clear answer.”
In the past, the IDF was primarily worried about attacks coming from Syrian commando units along the border. The IDF source said, “I’m not thinking about the Syrian commando unit, which is down to a third of its original size, and is busy defending Damascus. The current threats are Iranian-backed terrorist organizations, and this is a different type of threat that requires us to prepare our forces in a different way.”
“The threat is changing. It is less static, and more mobile. It changes every day. If we remain fixed in our ways, we will no longer be relevant,” the officer said.
The IDF has adapted its tactics to allow for a more immediate response to any oncoming attack by giving middle- and lower-ranking field officers more authority and flexibility in decision making. This will allow the command structure to make swift decisions and eliminate threats before they become too dangerous.
While the IDF units in the area work closely with Military Intelligence and receive updates on a daily basis, units on Mount Hermon have been preparing for the scenario of attacks that come without prior intelligence warnings.