3 hours ago, the ISIS-affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade officially captured the town of Saham al-Jawlan (south-west Daraa) after overwhelming the defences of Ahrar ash-Sham (Islamist rebel group) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Syrian al-Qaeda group) during the day.
This move comes as the ISIS-linked group has captured and entered several rebel-held towns in southern Syria in the past three days. Actually, this campaign has seen ISIS double its territory in the province of Daraa in less than a week as depicted in this 2-day old map and detailed article covering the entire offensive.
Reportedly, about a dozen Ahrar ash-Sham fighters surrendered to ISIS as the latter’s fighters stormed the town of Saham al-Jawlan; the rest of the defenders either fled or were killed in combat. Prior to today’s ISIS attack, Saham al-Jawlan was besieged from its western, northern and eastern entrance while only a narrow supply line flowed to Jordan through the southern gates of the town.
Remarkably, the Islamic State has now established itself on the border with Israel and Jordan, while gradually expelling rebel forces from Daraa province. Nevertheless, ISIS is careful not to anger its neighbouring countries just yet – for now, their fighters seem more than occupied with grabbing lands from vulnerable rebel positions inside southern Syria itself.
Regrettably from the perspective of the Syrian Opposition, rebels find themselves entirely surrounded at Hayt (south of Saham al-Jawlan); unless they receive reinforcements from Jordan, ISIS will likely capture this village as well. Meanwhile, rebels must also defend their eastern flank where government troops have entrenched themselves around the provincial capital of Daraa.