BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – March 2019 marked the eighth anniversary of the Syrian War and while the Syrian government has managed to retake most of the country, the conflict still remains far from over.
The majority of the fighting in Syria has now been shifted to the northern provinces of Idlib, Hama, and Aleppo.
While the month started out relatively calm in comparison to February, it would end with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Jaysh Al-Izza/Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham traded constant attacks along the Hama-Idlib axis.
The month of March also saw the first time this year that the Russian Air Force has launched airstrikes over the provincial capital of Idlib.
These airstrikes by the Russian Air Force reportedly destroyed a large weapons warehouse that belonged to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, along with part of the Idlib Central Prison.
In response to these airstrikes, the jihadist rebels launched several missiles towards the cities of Latakia and Tartous, marking the first time that they have done so this year.
The Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) sleeper cells have emerged across the southern provinces of Daraa and Al-Quneitra; this has prompted the Syrian Arab Army to send reinforcements to the region in order to quell these attacks.
Using mostly roadside bombs and assault rifles, the Free Syrian Army sleeper cells have repeatedly attacked the Syrian Arab Army’s positions in southern Syria.
In the month of March, the Free Syrian Army was able to kill more than ten Syrian Arab Army soldiers, while also wounding twenty others.
In late March, the Syrian Arab Army sent reinforcements to Daraa and Al-Quneitra in preparation for a new operation to eliminate these sleeper cells from these provinces.
The largest territorial change to happen in March occurred in western Syria when the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) managed to capture the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) last positions in the Baghouz area.
Backed by heavy airstrikes from the U.S. Coalition and their partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces were engaged in several fierce battles with the Islamic State at the Baghouz Camp and its surroundings.
Each day, dozens of Islamic State fighters and their family members would surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces outside the Baghouz Camp.
Finally, the Islamic State agreed to surrender the Baghouz Camp towards the end of the month, with some terrorists escaping to the Baghouz Mountain.
The Syrian Democratic Forces are now working to clear this imperative mountaintop in order to put an end to the Islamic State’s presence in eastern Syria.
Western Syria had very little violence in the month of March, despite some attempts by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham to launch rockets towards Latakia and Tartous.