The Syrian Army closes in on Daraa city


The Syrian Army made a large advance today, capturing multiple important towns and villages across Daraa governorate. These advances put the government in a position to begin encircling Daraa city from the south, as well as capture the economically-vital Nassib border crossing with Jordan.After reconciliation negotiations between Russian and rebel participants broke down without an agreement yesterday, the Syrian government decided to launch an all-out assault on rebel positions throughout the region. After nightfall hundreds of artillery shells, rockets, and airstrikes hit rebel positions from the western to the eastern part of the province.

The Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces launched another attack on the important rebel town of Sayda, capturing it. A few hours afterwards, the Syrian Army attacked the long-time rebel stronghold of Nayma immediately to its west (and directly east of Daraa city). Rebel forces fled the incoming troops and the government took control of the town.

Meanwhile, regular Syrian Army forces accompanied by Russian personnel made large advances over mostly empty terrain in the extreme southwest of the governorate. They captured several small villages including Samad, Samaj, Disiyah, Summaqiyat, Fadda, and Khirbat al Mushrif, alongside several border outposts. This positions the government to be able to cut off rebel forces at Ma’raba west of Busra al-Sham. Additionally, this recent advance means the Syrian Army can advance toward the Nassib crossing from two directions instead of one.

Overall, the Syrian Army is in a very good position in Daraa governorate. The rebel-held portion of Daraa city suddenly looks quite vulnerable to encirclement and siege, compared to a year ago when rebel forces were capturing street after street in the Manshiyah neighborhood. The government will likely attempt a flanking maneuver like it did at Aleppo and Deir Ezzor (both of which were government victories). Rebel presence in most of Daraa governorate may not last till the end of the year.

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