February 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

IDF Captures Syrian Working for Hezbollah in the Golan

February 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

IDF Captures Syrian Working for Hezbollah in the Golan

Latest Developments

Israeli troops captured two terrorist suspects who crossed into Israel from Syria on January 27, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated on Monday. One of the suspects, identified as Ghaith Abdallah, was acting on behalf of Hezbollah to gather intelligence for future terror attacks. Abdallah’s capture confirms that Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed proxies continue to operate in southern Syria as a part of an overall strategy to intensify attacks within Israel.

Expert Analysis

“The recent capture of a Hezbollah-linked operative by the Israeli military is more than just a breach of Israeli sovereignty; it underscores the grave threat posed by Iran-backed Hezbollah’s ongoing attempts to expand a foothold in southern Syria. The January 27 incident reaffirms the extent of Iran’s aggression in the region and highlights the urgent need for the international community to take decisive action in monitoring and countering the activities of these malign actors.” Keren Hajioff, FDD Senior Advisor

Hezbollah’s Project in Southern Syria Began in 2013

According to a report in Israel Hayom, Hezbollah efforts to establish a presence in southern Syria began in the first years of the Syrian civil war. “In May of 2013, Syrian President Bashar Assad opened the Golan frontier to Hezbollah to act against Israel, in an effort to divert attention from [the] raging Syrian civil war,” the report stated.

On March 13, 2019, the IDF stated that Hezbollah had established the “Golan File,” a new unit operating in southern Syria with the aim of gathering intelligence and carrying out future attacks against Israel. This action reflected Hezbollah’s intensifying effort to form a second northern front against Israel. According to the IDF, the terrorist group tasked a long-time Hezbollah operative to lead the unit, Ali Musa Daqduq, who had previously killed five American troops in Iraq.

Israel Monitors Hezbollah-Syria Cooperation

On November 25, 2021, the IDF’s Arabic spokesperson disclosed intelligence that an active duty Syrian Arab Army (SAA) captain, Naqib Bashar al-Hussein, was also serving as the primary liaison between Hezbollah and the SAA’s First Corps Division. The outing of Hussein acted as a warning to Hezbollah and the Syrian military that Israel was keeping close tabs on their activity.

IDF Targets Hezbollah in Syria

Citing Lebanese media, Israel Hayom reported in February 2022 that the IDF targeted positions belonging to Iranian proxy groups and the SAA in the southern Syrian villages of Madinat al-Baath and Rwihinah. Israel Hayom also quoted Saudi media, which said the strike “focused on sites belonging to the seventh division of Assad’s army used by Hezbollah.” On March 17, 2020, the IDF said it thwarted an attack against Israeli troops orchestrated by Hezbollah and the Syrian military.

Related Analysis

The War Between Wars Heats Up,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Clipping the wings of Iran and its militias,” by Hussain Abdul-Hussain


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Syria