Notice the wording in this Reuters headline: Syrian government launches offensive against rebels in south.
For Reuters Syria now has – again – a “government”, and not a “regime” as Reuters had labeled the Syrian government for a quite a while. That is an important change.
The report says:
Syria’s army gained ground from rebels in the south on Tuesday in what a monitoring group described as a large-scale offensive in the region backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters against insurgents including al Qaeda’s Syrian wing.
“The operation started two days ago and is very big,” Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, said on Tuesday.
Abdulrahman said the offensive aims to take a triangle of rebel-held territory from rural areas southwest of Damascus to Deraa city to Quneitra. Syrian media and rebel sources said on Tuesday that battles raged in several areas of southern Syria.
The south eastern triangle of Syria between the Golan and and Deraa had been taken by Jabhat al-Nusra (disguised as “moderate rebels”) with the help of the Israelis and the U.S. dominated “operations room” in Jordan which distributes the weapons Saudi Arabia and others supplied.
The general U.S. operation plan was, as we reported in September, to let Nusra attack Damascus from the south.
The current Syrian government operation, long in planning, is aimed at rolling back the Jabhat al_Nusra attack if possible down to the Jordan border. It is supported by Hizbullah (and Iranian?) fighters who will likely do most of work on the Golan heights.
Earlier Elijah J. Magnier reported on the operation:
#BreakingNews: #SAA called d mil ops n Quneitra/Daraa “Shuhada’ al-Quneitra” referring 2 d #Israel/i attack killing 6 Hezbollah & 1 #Iran/ian
The ongoing huge military operation is run by #SAA and #Hezbollah in the south and SW of #Syria .
#Hezbollah considers this ops as a prevention to an ongoing #JN plan to attack #Lebanon from Hasbaiya and to endanger #Damascus”. #Syria.
This is no doubt the communique’ N. 2 of #Hezbollah to #Israel following the Shebaa Farms attack last week. #Syria #Lebanon.
(“Shuhada” is the plural of “Shaheed” which means Martyr. “Shuhada’ al-Quneitra” means “Martyrs of Quneitra”.)
Several towns and areas were already reported cleared today but this likely will be a difficult and long fight.
The question is if or how Israel will try to disrupt this campaign by again supporting Jabhat al_Nusra with air attacks, artillery strikes and supplies. Hizbullah will surely have prepared some “surprises” to challenge any Israeli support to its enemies.
Will the U.S. led operations room try to counter the Syrian attack? How? Will Jordan, now heavily involved against the Islamic State, now also shun the IS brethren Jabhat al-Nusra?
By Moon Of Alabama