For months, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been on the defensive against rebel forces in the Dara’a Governorate, holding their positions against a barrage of enemy offensives in the province. During this time, the SAA lost villages on the border of Jordan and in the neighboring province of Al-Quneitra, where the rebels endeavored to control the border of Dara’a and the latter. Despite the rebel’s success, the SAA has held on long enough to plan a strategic and unexpected operation in the imperative village of Sheikh Miskeen.
Yesterday, the SAA’s 5th Division launched a surprise attack on the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), overrunning their positions and creating panic within the rebel ranks. The SAA captured the East District and pressed into the West District; however, the rebels regrouped and were able to resist the 5th Division’s advance.
Around 5:15 A.M. on Sunday morning, the 5th Division resumed their offensive in Sheikh Miskeen, bombarding the rebels in the West District with a multitude of artillery shells and gunfire. Initially, the rebels were able to forestall the 5th Division’s progress, but their impotent fortifications were exposed by the Syrian Air Force, who destroyed a defensive barrier approximately 400 meters from the city-center. The 5th Division was able to push the rebels further west, killing scores of the militants in the process and seizing a doshka mounted on a pick-up truck.
The 5th Division is on the verge of capturing the West District, where the rebels are nearly encircled and exhausted due to the lack of supplies and reinforcements. Sheikh Miskeen is imperative to the 5th Division for many reasons, but the primary reason is its proximity to the rebel-held village of Da’el. Da’el is strategically located next to Sheikh Miskeen and close to the International Highway – the highway is constantly targeted by rebel forces looking to bombard SAA convoys in the Dara’a Governorate. If the SAA is successful in capturing Da’el and Sheikh Miskeen; this could prove to be the biggest loss for Jamal Ma’arouf’s (SRF leader) embattled forces in Dara’a.