At least 40 Islamist fighters were killed, dozens others injured as a result of a wide scale rebel offensive on government forces positioned in the southern city of Daraa.
The attack, launched two days ago by Tahrir al-sham alliance (formerly Jabhet al-Nusra), granted the militants control of almost half of Al-Manshiyah district in the provincial capital of Daraa province.
However, the assault proved unexpectedly costly for the western-backed fighters with the Syrian Army and allied forces adopting a new tactic to reduce the casualties as much as possible.
To this end, the defending forces made a partial withdrawal to assimilate the momentum of rebels, and allow more space for the Syrian and Russian airstrikes to fully operate in the residential district.
The new approach proved effective as a small number government troops were reported killed in the process compared to rebels.
Informed sources said huge reinforcements have been sent to the area to prepare a major counter-offensive ‘at the right time’.
Al-Manshiyah district bears a strategic importance for the Syrian government. Once fully recaptured, the Syrian troops will be a stone’s throw from the imperative Nassib border crossing with Jordan.