Yesterday, activists reported that confrontations between Regime forces and opposition factions flared up in the latest attempt to control the village of Juba, which is located along the primary supply line for the Regime’s forces stationed in some of the villages and hills north of Qunaytirah. ‘Abd-al-Rahman attributed the success of the opposition forces in their advance to its “orderly” attack, in addition to the fact that “the Regime lacks sufficient power to counter their attacks on every front.” He continued by saying that the al-Nusrah Front is “among the most powerful factions within the region.”
Sources within the opposition have confirmed for al-Sharq al-Awsat that the Jaysh al-Haramoun, which was recently created, combined fighters from the IUSL, the Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant), the Harakat Shuhada’ al-Sham al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Movement of the Martyrs of the Levant), al-Nusrah Front, Liwa’ al-Sayyid al-Masih (The Messiah Brigade), Liwa’ Usama bin-Zayd (The Usama bin-Zayd Brigade), Liwa’ Tawhid al-‘Asimah (The Unification of the Capital Brigade), Liwa’ Farsan al-Sunnah (The Knights of the Sunnah Brigade) and Liwa’ ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (‘Umar bin al-Khattab Brigade). ‘Isam al-Rayyis, spokesman for the opposition forces tweeted that the groups involved in the operation signed an agreement that does not include the al-Nusrah Front (al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria). al-Rayyis clarified that the groups involved in the attack were fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, and have already fought with the al-Nusrah Front in southern Syria. However, it is not the primary opposition group, unlike what is happening in other parts of the country.
According to an IUSL spokesman who spoke with al-Sharq al-Awsat, their most prominent achievements “were opening the way to the besieged strategic town of Beit Jinn, trapping several military brigades in the surrounding al-Hamar highlands and preventing the advance of military supplies from some of the national defense militias.” He continued by highlighting how “they obtained heat seeking anti-aircraft Cobra rockets that were seized from military installations in the al-Hamar highlands.” Jaysh al-Haramoun posted pictures showing fighters carrying one of those rockets.
The aforementioned spokesman announced that the objectives of the battle are to “consolidate control of the al-Hamar highlands and some of the army brigades that are spread throughout the area and to stem the flow of daily bombings on the liberated regions of the highlands. They are also actively trying to open communication channels between the rural areas west of Damascus and the northern rural areas of the Qunaytirah Province as a preparatory step to reaching rural western Damascus. Furthermore, they are attempting to break the blockade on the Dar’a suburbs, which is the first crossing point to the Syrian capital.”
The Regime’s forces currently surround the opposition forces in Dar’a and the town of Khan al-Shih, which is the most prominent area that surrounds the Syrian capital from the west.
Translated by Donald Puhlman.