BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:55 P.M.) – No less than twelve hours ago the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and allied pro-government militias, after weeks of military build-up, undertook a titanic trans-provincial offensive in the western Syrian Badia. Since then the SAA and its allies have liberated twenty key sites represented by towns and hilltops over a breathtaking area of 3000 kilometers squared (km2). The entire strategic operation is aimed at expelling US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) mercenaries which operate in the eastern regions of As-Suwayda and Rif Dimashq Governonates.
This offensive launched by pro-government forces today represents the second phase of Operation Big Dawn.
Thus far the operation has seen the liberation of the Makhoul mountain chain, the Makhoul Dam, Al-Sees mountain chain and the Risha Dam as well as the villages of Deir Nasrani, Rajm Bakr, Tall Salman, Al-Maftara, Tal Al-Maftara, Shinwan, Al-Sakiyah, Al-Qasr, Tal Banat, Al-Bajir and Khirbat Saada.
For months now, the US-backed FSA contractors operating in the Syrian Badia under the guise of being freedom fighters and pretending to fight ISIS, supported by American airpower, have acted as a buffer force against pro-government efforts to secure Syria’s shared border areas with Jordan and Iraq.
The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia have all heavily invested in denying ground-based communications between Damascus and Baghdad in particular, for they fear that such a connection would re-grant Iran (a much hated regional entity for all three nations) a level of strategic reach that stretches all the way to the Mediterranean, as it had prior to 2011.
Indeed, in the Western media’s coverage of events in the Syrian Badia (which itself is based on reports disseminated to it by Syria-based Islamist media outlets that themselves are on the payroll of a number of foreign offices with dedicated anti-Assad agendas) over the several months, there has been a constant insistence that all pro-government forces involved in trying seal the Syrian border with Iraq are “Iranian proxy militias”.
In doing so the most obvious and logical understanding of the situation in southern Syria has been bypassed; that the Syrian Army is attempting restore the sovereignty of Syria, and that of course includes the nation’s border with other countries.