The Syrian Arab Army’s 1st Armored Division and Hezbollah have begun the process of concentrating a substantial portion of their forces to the Qalamoun Mountains in order to begin a large-scale offensive to eliminate the remaining militants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) holed-up near the Lebanese border.
Currently, Hezbollah and the SAA’s 1st Division control a large swath of territory in the Qalamoun Mountains, including 80 Percent of the Yabroud District that connects to the border of Lebanon; the remaining pocket of militant control extends from the ‘Arsal District of Lebanon to the eastern part of the Yabroud District.
With the need to close off the Lebanese border, Hezbollah and the SAA’s 1st Armored Division have coordinated with the Lebanese Armed Forces to begin this offensive to retake the territory under Al-Nusra and ISIS control; if they are successful, the latter two militant groups will be forced to rely on the volatile Sheba’a Farms area to resupply their contingents in both countries.
According to a private military source, the offensive in the Qalamoun Mountain is set for the Summer of 2015; however, the source was unable to provide any details regarding the time frame or the contingency behind the offensive.
In late 2014, the 1st Division, Hezbollah, and the National Defense Forces (NDF) were able to secure the remaining border-crossings in the southwestern part of the Rif Dimashq Governorate at Al-Zabadani – all that remains is the Qalamoun border-crossing.