On Saturday, Islamist factions in southern Syria announced their forces would launch a large-scale offensive aimed at reaching the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Specifically, Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra) would begin a battle dubbed ‘Red of the South’ and attempt to capture the ‘3rd Legion’ and ‘4th Battalion‘ army bases, along with the imperative al-Naqqar hill. If these sites were to be wrestled from government forces, Islamist factions would be able to prevent the West Ghouta evacuation at the eleventh hour.
So far, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defence Forces (NDF) have come under heavy artillery fire while several sporadic Islamist attacks have been repelled without any territorial losses.
The SAA and NDF are relying primarily on artillery to fend off the approaching jihadist fighters. No airstrikes were conducted in support of government troops near Quneitra on Friday as most Syrian and Russian jets find themselves preoccupied with flying sorties against ISIS and Jaysh al-Fateh elsewhere in the country.
Stationed by the Syrian Armed Forces in the region are the 1st Golan Regiment, 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division, Al-Quneitra Hawks Brigade and 90th Brigade of the 9th Armored Division.
Although the frontline at the Golan Heights has been largely static for some time, the SAA did manage to capture Tal al-Nakkar three days ago.
For a recent map of the region, click here.