Regime forces and allied militias have escalated their military campaign in southern Syria over the last 24 hours. Three internationally banned cluster bombs struck the village of Masika in the al-Lajat area, east of Daraa on Tuesday, while regime forces in the western countryside of Suweida province struck the towns of Basr al-Harir, Nahata and Masika with more than 130 artillery shells and rockets, killing two civilians, one of them a volunteer in the Civil Defense, who was treating the wounded in the area at the time.
North, in the “triangle of death” (the area where the Daraa, Quneitra and western Damascus countryside provinces meet) the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which is in the Tel Merai area and the Fatima hills, and cities and towns of al-Hara, Kafr Shams, Nimr, and the area around the city of Jassim, used rockets and heavy artillery shells loaded with napalm, killing one civilian in the town of Kafr Shams, and wounding others in the city of al-Hara north of Daraa.
The escalation by the regime and militias backed by Iran in southern Syria was met with a response from opposition groups of the Southern Front. The “Close Ranks” (Rass al-Safouf) Operations Room working in the eastern Daraa countryside announced that a convoy of regime and militia forces had been struck in the Damascus-Daraa countryside with heavy and medium weapons, killing and wounding a number of soldiers and destroying military machines.
The opposition groups continued to respond on Wednesday morning in northern Daraa with a heavy artillery strike on Hezbollah in the town of Deir al-Adas, without any information about the number of losses.
The escalation in southern Syria comes in light of Assad bolstering military reinforcements on the lines that face rebel groups in the provinces of Daraa, Quineitra and Suweida, in preparation of major military operations in the area with the aim of taking control of new positions.
With the pace of military escalation increasing, it seems that international discussions about the situation in southern Syria have begun to take another course — with sources telling Alsouria Net that the countries sponsoring the de-escalation agreement in southern Syria have not reached any understanding in light of Iran, the regime and Russia’s insistence on igniting the southern front.
The same sources said that discussions between the United States, Jordan, Britain and Israel were ongoing and aimed to establish an international coalition against the regime and Iran’s mobilization in southern Syria in isolation from Russia, which has not fulfilled its commitments to prevent the regime and Iran from carrying out military operations in the country’s south.
Pro-regime pages on social media have recently broadcast video clips showing convoys of regime forces heading toward Daraa. A video published by Russian media showed Russian Military Police moving alongside a convoy on the Daraa-Damascus highway, which means that Russia — which is trying to delude the United States, Jordan and Israel into thinking it is unable to curb Assad and Iran in the south — is planning and managing their operations there.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.