A rebel fighter of the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army gestures while standing with his fellow fighter near their weapons at the front line in the north-west countryside of Deraa, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

After two months and five attacks, the leadership of the Free Syrian Arab Army’s (FSA) “Southern Front Brigades” have called it quits in the Dara’a Governorate after numerous offensive announcements to capture the provincial capital that produced minimal gains and heavy casualties, despite surrounding the Syrian Armed Forces from three different sides.

The 50 plus Free Syrian Army factions that form the Southern Front Brigades were tasked with the objective to capture the provincial capital of the Dara’a Governorate after they were able to take control of the Syrian Government’s last border-crossing into Jordan at Nassib, the city of Busra Al-Sham, and the strategic Brigade 52 Base on the border of the Al-Sweida Governorate.

Once it appeared that the Syrian Armed Forces were unwilling to concede any territory to the rebel factions as quickly as they did at Busra Al-Sham and Brigade 52 Base, the Southern Front Brigades no longer sent large convoys of their fighters towards the provincial capital due to the fierce resistance from the Syrian Arab Army’s 15th and 285th Brigades protecting the city.

It appears that the shortage of fighters to launch their sixth assault played an integral role in this decision to call off the offensive dubbed the “Southern Storm”; however, this does not mean that the Battle of Dara’a is over.

The Free Syrian Army will likely attempt to regroup and recruit more men to launch another large-scale offensive inside Dara’a City; but, for now, they are restricted due to their limited numbers in this province.

One thing that benefitted the Islamist rebels in northern Syria was the influx of foreign fighters; this provided the depleted rebel forces with a large boost before they captured the provincial capital of the Idlib Governorate and the strategic city of Jisr Al-Shughour on the Latakia border.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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