The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has assigned Brigadier General Osama Zahreddine the task of leading the Hader-Quneitra operations room in the Syrian Golan Heights. In the past four days, the SAA in Quneitra province has been fighting off both rebel attacks and Israeli air raids.
Osama Zahreddine is the brother of legendary Major General Issam Zahreddine, commander-in-chief of the SAA’s forces at Deir Ezzor, a city still withstanding a two year long Islamic State siege.
Both Zahreddine brothers originate from a Druze family in Sweida province, further south. Meanwhile, the majority of inhabitants in the Golan Heights are equally Druze; therefore, Osama Zahreddine’s deployment hints at a SAA strategy opting to win the hearts and minds of local inhabitants.
The Quneitra governorate has been locked down in somewhat of a stalemate since the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) seized the town of Al-Quneitra and its the border crossing to Israel in 2014.