BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 A.M.) – Over the course of two months, the Syrian conflict has seen drastic changes at several fronts, including areas that have not seen fighting for years.
Among the biggest changes this year is the battlefront in Damascus, which has seen the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in control of much of the western countryside and large parts of the nearby East Ghouta region.
With a number of reconciliation agreements put together at the end of the year (e.g. Wadi Barada and Serghaya), the Syrian Arab Army managed to secure almost the entire provincial border with the Golan Heights, leaving only Beit Jinn under militant control.
In the eastern part of Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army is preparing for what is expected to be the largest offensive in this region; this operation will be led by the Republican Guard forces and 4th Mechanized Division.
South of Damascus, the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham launched a large-scale offensive in the Dara’a Governorate, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s positions inside the Al-Manishiyah District of the provincial capital.
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham has captured several points inside the Al-Manishiyah District; however, their offensive has somewhat stalled since their large advance on Monday.
In the Sweida Governorate, the U.S. backed rebel forces have seized several points from the Islamic State terrorists near the Jordanian border, giving them a large buffer-zone around the Tanf Crossing into Iraq.
Syrian Desert Front:
Syria’s vast desert landscape has been the scene of some of the most intense battles taking place inside the country.
The Islamic State launched a massive operation in December to seize the ancient city of Palmyra and its nearby gas fields; this offensive was eventually successful, as the Syrian Arab Army was forced to withdraw 60km west towards the T-4 Military Airport.
Making matters worse for the Syrian Army, the Islamic State launched a large offensive in the Deir Ezzor Governorate to kick off the new year.
The Islamic State would not only capture several points, but they would also besiege the Deir Ezzor Military Airport for the first time during this war.
By mid-January, the Syrian Arab Army was able to stabilize the Palmyra and Deir Ezzor fronts, paving the way for a much needed counter-attack.
The Syrian Arab Army is currently involved in an offensive to liberate the oil fields in Palmyra’s western countryside; this has taken priority over lifting the siege on the Deir Ezzor Airport.
Without a doubt, Syria’s northern front is its most active front, with several groups fighting one another in the Aleppo and Al-Raqqa governorates.
The Turkish Armed Forces made the first move in Aleppo in January, as their soldiers and rebel allies stormed the strategic city of Al-Bab.
However, this operation for the Turkish forces has had limited success and heavy casualties as a result of the Islamic State’s heavy resistance at this important front.
At around the same time the Turkish forces launched the Al-Bab offensive, the Kurdish-led “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) began a large-scale operation to liberate Al-Raqqa from the Islamic State terrorists.
Unlike the Turkish Armed Forces, the SDF has managed to liberate a large chunk of territory along the Euphrates River, almost reaching the strategic Tabaqa Military Airport before the Islamic State sent reinforcements to forestall the advance.
Opposite of the SDF and Turkish Armed Forces, the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” have been focusing on the Kuweries countryside, liberating several villages from the Islamic State while advancing to both Al-Bab and Deir Hafer.