Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Israeli intelligence on IS

Although Israel is not a formal member of the coalition of now 50 countries that the USA has gathered together to join in the fight against the Islamic State, it has been reported that nevertheless Israel is providing vital intelligence information to the US in order to carry out its attacks against IS targets, particularly in Syria.  How has Israel obtained this intelligence?  There are two sources, first Israel has been constantly flying drones over Syrian territory throughout the three years of the Syrian civil war.  As such, Israel had significant information such as that used to locate most of the Syrian caches of chemical weapons.  Also, as the war has ebbed and flowed, Israel has been able to follow the development of the IS-held territories.
Second, Israel has treated in its hospitals several hundred patients who were injured in the fighting near the Syrian-Israel border.  These are both Syrian Army soldiers as well as fighters of the opposition, the Free Syrian Army and the Al Nusrah Front.  Recently during the fighting for Kuneitra, there were many casualties and several of these who were too badly injured for local treatment and who could not be transferred to Damascus hospitals, especially if they were in the opposition, were transferred via the UNDOF (the UN Disengagement Observer Force on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria) into Israel, where they have been treated in several hospitals in the north.  Among these are fighters of the Al Nusrah Front, that although they are Islamists, they have also been fighting against the IS as well as the Assad regime.
One of these fighters, whose body was riddled with shrapnel and whose life was saved in Poriya Hospital near Tiberias, was a special source of detailed information about IS (his name cannot be revealed for obvious reasons).  He had transferred his allegience from Al Nusrah to IS at an earlier stage of the war, as many fighters did, but he became disillusioned.  He decided that he joined up to fight against Assad and not to murder Kurds and others who were also fighting against Assad.  His IS officer became suspicious of him and had him sent to Raqqa, the center of IS in eastern Syria for interrogation.  However, he managed to escape and mingle with refugees, crossed the border into Turkey and then re-entered Syria again further west and rejoined his original Al Nusrah unit.  He was able and willing to give the military intelligence branch of the IDF detailed information of the disposition of IS and Al Nusrah forces in much of Syria.  His information is being used to help guide the US-led attacks on IS installations in eastern Syria.  Some of these attacks are being carried out by other air forces, including that of Saudi Arabia.  


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