Syrian rebels make progress on the southern front

After a year and a half long Syrian army siege, rebels of the Southern Front break through the blockade of strategically important Nawa to join with rebels trapped inside.

Syrian Rebels

Syrian Rebels

Nawa, population of approximately 50,000, lies 40 km north-west of Daraa, which is on the Syria/Jordan border. My Syrian contact who is close to the “Southern Front,” a loose coalition of moderate rebel groups of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), said that after their defeat, the Syrian army then tried to retake the city 25 times in one month before it finally gave up. He also said that for the last year, the Syrian army has not been able to retake any of the cities it has lost in the south. Strategically Nawa is very important — it is at the head of an important crossroads that leads to Daraa in the south and the Israeli border to the west. Nearby, to the east, rebels also have control of the cities Al Sheikh Maskin and Izraa, the two main highways that run up the country from the south to Damascus pass through these two cities. This has created a new strategic front, which the rebels hope to use as they attempt to push even further north toward the capital some 85 km away.

fsa controlled area

fsa controlled area

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asked if the rebels had received weapons from Jordan to aid them in breaking the siege and subsequent defense against Syrian army attempts to retake the city, he said they had been given some help from Jordan but most of the weapons came from captured Syrian army positions and bases.

One of the main challenges facing the moderate rebels of the FSA in the south is the rise of extreme Islamist groups. So far they are not a major problem but could become so in future if they have access to significant funding and weapons. In contrast, the north and east of Syria have major problems with extremist group ISIS who control large areas. There, the FSA has two fights on its hands, one with the Syrian army and the other with ISIS. The southern FSA is working hard not to let this happen. Israel is also determined not to see extremists take power in areas along its border with Syria, on occasion it has helped the FSA secure areas in order to protect its security. Jordan too, is working with moderate rebels, such as Bashar al Zoubi, leader of the Al Yarmouk division, who I have met on several occasions. Jordanian and Israeli cooperation in areas of mutual interest is due to the fear of strengthening Islamist groups becoming a major security threat to the two countries. They will do whatever is necessary to prevent that happening even if it means having to help the FSA.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Syrian rebels make progress on the southern front

  1. So if Syria joins with the radicals to beat down the rebels, all hell is gonna break loose? The Islamists will be idiots at first and believe that Syria will let them have territory in return for their help beating the rebels. As soon as the rebels are beaten, however, Syria will try to oust the Islamists; which is gonna make them very, very angry. They’ll go home and get their guys, Israel and Jordan will get their guys, then just that quick the US, EU, and Russia will be in it: WWIII?

  2. Hi 🙂 There is a lot to suggest the Syrian government is in collusion with the extremists. Al Nusra were allowed to grow because Assad wanted the war to become sectarian, later with ISIS, there is also evidence to suggest the government is using them. ISIS paint their headquarters in their colours, they stand out a mile but are never targeted by the airforce. There is a lot of evidence which I will cover soon.

    ISIS have designs on the whole country and Syria will never be able to get rid of them. As someone said recently, Syria is on its way to becoming a failed state, a bit like Somalia. This is going to threaten the security of so many countries, Israel and Jordan want to have a buffer zone along their borders to reduce the threat. Turkey too but it is ironic how it knowingly allowed the extremists to use its border, it will try to create a buffer but too late I think to minimize the threat.

    What looks like will happen is Israel and Jordan will work with the FSA, as they already are, to secure territory along their borders and also help them resist ISIS, with air support if neccessary. Turkey will probably go it alone, using direct military intervention to secure a buffer zone.

    This will leave Assad with Damascus through Homs, up to the Latakia region as well as most of Aleppo. FSA in the north control a few pockets close to the Turkish border but are so fragmented they are not very effective. ISIS has a lot of control in the centre of the country, which gives easy access to Iraq, In practical terms what ISIS is doing in Syria and Iraq is all part of the same war, the border there is meaningless.

    Before, Afghanistan was the training ground for Islamist terrorism, now it is Syria, which is also much closer to Europe. I think certain governments have finally realized what a shit-storm they have created and how it can come back to bite them. The problem is that it is far too late to put the genie back in the bottle.

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