BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:15 A.M.) – Pictures have very recently emerged from As-Suwayda Governonate showing ethnic Palestinian fighters of the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), mixed within the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
The soldiers belong to the PLA’s 413th Battalion which is currently fighting alongside the SAA in a large pro-government offensive, launched yesterday, aimed at expelling US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) mercenaries from the Syria’s southwestern Badia region.
Weeks ago, several images emerged of the 413th Battalion moving its forces from Damascus into Syria’s southern Badia in what was then assumed to be a pro-government military build-up for an offensive against US-backed FSA militants in the region.
As the actions of pro-government forces yesterday demonstrated, this was in fact the case.
The presence of the PLA’s 413th Battalion within the pro-government alliance is often overlooked by the much larger and more publicized Liwa al-Quds pro-government Palestinian militia group that fights further north in the governonates of Aleppo and Raqqa.
The actual strength of the 413th Battalion (beyond what the formation’s title suggests) is unknown. The formation has historically fought alongside pro-government forces in the area of Damascus.