I also see that DEBKAfile and the sources for FARS -- that's Iran's state news agency -- have quite different takes on the same general situation. What to do. How about if I publish both reports.
Syria launches anti-rebel operation in Quneitra ahead of Putin-Netanyahu meeting
Jul 9, 2018 @ 17:43
The Syrian army began attacking rebel positions around Quneitra opposite Israel’s Golan border on Monday, July 9, DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal. For some hours, Syrian forces have been pounding rebel positions at Nabi Sakhar east of Quneitra with heavy tank and artillery fire as well as Golan 1000 rocket launchers. For now, the rebels hold superior fire power, but are short of manpower for holding the wider region.
It is not clear whether the Syrian forces reached the Quneitra region from Daraa where fighting continues, or from the north. In communiques in the last few hours, the Syrian high command in Damascus claimed the rebels are supported by the IDF. According to the official Syrian news agency SANA, “the jihadist rebels ae currently under the protection of the Israeli Defense Forces” – although no details are offered.
There is no official word from Israel.
DEBKAfile’s military sources say that the launching of the Syrian Quneitra offensive should not have come as a surprise to the Netanyahu government or the IDF since there were plenty of signs it was on the way.
In Daraa, the first part of Syria’s drive to seize control of the southwest is jumping back and forth, because neither the Assad regime nor the Syrian army accept the ceasefire deal which the Russians negotiated with local rebel leaders. On Sunday, therefore, the Syrian air force renewed its strikes on rebel positions in Daraa and Syrian, Hizballah and pro-Iranian Shiite militias stand ready to go into Daraa City. This would be in repudiation of the Russian-rebel deal which restricted entry to Syrian civilian administrators.
The rulers of Damascus suspect the Russians are aiming to broker the same ceasefire deal with the rebels of Queiitra. This would leave the anti-Assad fighters in place and in control of their villages, in return for surrendering their heavy and medium arms.
The Syrian allegation of an Israeli air attack on the big Syrian T-4 air base Sunday night clearly pointed to its next target: the Syrian Golan town of Quneitra opposite IDF lines. The giveaway came from the content of the Syrian communique, which was framed to implicate all of Assad’s enemies in the purported attack. The Israeli jets allegedly flew in from Jordan over the US outpost at Al Tanf.
By setting up this ploy four days before President Vladimir Putin receives Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Moscow on Wednesday, Bashar Assad was giving Moscow due warning that he would play the Quneitra offensive by his own rulebook, not the Russians.’
It remains to be seen how the Syrian army’s Quneitra operation, launched on Monday, plays out – whether it is restricted to small skirmishes or spreads more widely.
Now to the FARS report, also datelined July 9:
Syrian Army Aborts Israel's Logistical Backup for Tahrir Al-Sham [aka Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda]
TEHRAN (FNA)- A timely offensive by the Syrian army stopped Israel's move to supply logistical support to Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorist group in Southwestern Quneitra.
The Syrian army's artillery and missile units staged heavy fire on Tahrir al-Sham's positions and moves in al-Alam square, Rawihineh and the road linking Naba'a al-Sakhrah to Southwestern Quneitra and the nearby areas on Monday.
Several positions and military vehicles of terrorists were smashed and a number of militants were killed and wounded.
Field sources said that Tahrir al-Sham was moving towards the de-escalation zone with Israel to receive military aid from the Israeli army when it came under attack by the Syrian army.
In a relevant development on Saturday, the Israeli troops targeted a position of the Syrian Army troops in the Southwestern province of Quneitra to assist Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at terrorists that have suffered a heavy defeat in battle with the government forces, a media outlet reported.
Al-Mayadeen news network reported that the Israeli troops opened heavy fire at one of the positions of Tahrir al-Sham in Khan Arnaba region in Northern Quneitra after the government forces repelled a heavy offensive of Tahrir al-Sham in the region.
Al-Mayadeen further said that the Israeli attack did not leave any human casualties.
It went on to say that the terrorist groups in Quneitra had attacked the army stronghold in al-Ba'ath, Jaba and Tal Koroum regions before the Israeli troops launched their attack.
Al-Mayadeen further said that over 30 terrorists were killed or wounded in the militants' failed attack on the army positions in three flanks near al-Ba'ath.
Meanwhile, field sources reported that Israeli troops launched artillery attack on Syrian army in Quneitra, adding that the
The sources went on to say that Israel has increased its backup for terrorists in recent weeks when Tahrir al-Sham intensified attacks on the safe villages and townships in Quneitra province.