Battle of Eastern Daraa – June 24

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Today the Syrian Arab Army launched a widespread assault on Free Syrian Army rebels in the eastern part of Daraa province. Syrian Army tanks and soldiers shored up their positions on the eastern edge of the al-Lajat region, breaking into the plateau and seizing five towns from Free Syrian Army forces.

Operation Basalt“, referring to the volcanic plateau of al-Lajat (visible in the map), is intended to retake the Lajat area and the town of Busra al-Harir. Once these objectives are complete, the Syrian Army will aim to retake more towns and ultimately the Nassib bording crossing, allowing Syria to resume trade with Jordan.

Over the past four days, the Syrian Air Force launched strikes on multiple rebel-held towns in the region, aiming to scare the rebel fighters and damage them before launching today’s ground assault. The Syrian Army also used artillery to shell these areas. In addition, Syrian Army missiles from their stronghold of Izraa struck rebel forces.

The Russian Air Force launched a series of airstrikes along the frontlines, mostly striking the strategic town of Busra al-Harir. If the Syrian Army retakes this town, it will cut off the rebel forces in al-Lajat plateau from the larger rebel Daraa pocket. Of course, this is only if the Syrian Army does not retake al-Lajat plateau first.

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