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Syria Report

Published on 27 January 2015, by M. Tomazy.

Tension on the Golan Heights

At least two rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday prompting Israeli forces to return fire, the army said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Israeli side.

But the army said it had evacuated visitors from the Mount Hermon ski resort near the armistice line and security sources said that farmers were told to leave their fields and go into bomb shelters.

Police said they had set up roadblocks to stop civilians entering the area.
Tensions on the Golan have been running high since a January 18 Israeli air strike killed six fighters of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and an Iranian general on the Syrian-controlled side of the strategic plateau.

In August, five rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector and in July Israel shelled Syrian army positions in response to a rocket.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.
Syria and Israel are still officially in a state of war.

Turkey won’t accept Iraq-style Kurdish rule in Syria, says Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ruled out any possibility of accepting an autonomous Kurdish government in northern Syria similar to the one in northern Iraq, saying a government like this would cause major problems in the future.
In his remarks to reporters on his way back to Turkey after an African tour, Erdoğan criticized the United States' policy on Syria, which doesn't involve toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“[The US] doesn't want to make moves that target the [Syrian] regime. It says [toppling the government] is not among its targets. If it doesn't take place, there won't be any solution. What would happen? The same thing that happened in Iraq will happen. We don't want a new Iraq. What is this? Northern Iraq… [We don't want] a northern Syria to appear! It is not possible for us to accept this,” Erdoğan said.

Al Nusrah Front, Western-backed rebels overrun key regime base south of Damascus

In the past two days, Syrian rebels overran a base belonging to Brigade 82 of the Syrian Army in the southern province of Deraa. The Brigade 82 facilities, which sit close to the town of Sheikh Maskeen and a highway connecting Damascus with Jordan, were considered a key part of the Assad regime's defenses. The Assad government has responded to the rebel takeover by pounding the insurgents' positions inside the base and Sheikh Maskeen with its military jets and helicopters.

The base reportedly housed surface-to-air missiles and other heavy weaponry, at least some of which appears to have fallen into the rebels' hands. Unverified photos posted on Twitter show rebels in possession of various missiles and launchers. For example, Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a popular al Qaeda-linked Saudi cleric in Syria, has praised the rebels' takeover and posted photos of missiles that have purportedly fallen into their possession.