Monday was a rough day for Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and their allies from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) inside the resort-city of Al-Zabadani, as the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah captured 46 buildings from the Islamist rebel groups en route to the remaining enemy positions near the city-center.
For more than 40 days, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and their allies have been under a merciless siege from the Syrian Arab Army’s 63rd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah, leaving the Islamist rebel groups with little provisions and very little time to concoct a contingency to evade capture and the loss of this city.
Following numerous negotiations with the Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham fighters, Hezbollah – with the SAA’s blessings – offered one last ultimatum 24 hours ago: either completely surrender and possibly receive amnesty from the Syrian Government or prepare for the Syrian Armed Forces and the Lebanese Resistance’s final assault on the city-center of Al-Zabadani.
On Monday morning, five armed combatants turned in their weapons to the nearest Syrian Army unit and surrendered themselves; this resulted in an agreement to have their case heard by an amnesty council in the Syrian state capital of Damascus.
Part of the surrender terms included their assistance to get the remaining Islamist rebels to turn-in their weapons and surrender the city of Al-Zabadani to the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah; however, Al-Masdar News was informed that the rebel units still refused to surrender Al-Zabadani in the hope that a deal can be worked out between Turkey and Iran.
The likelihood of a deal between Iran and Turkey is not out of the realm of possibility; however, the Islamist rebels are running out of time, as Hezbollah and the Syrian Armed Forces gave them 72 hours to surrender yesterday.