After months of refraining almost entirely from conducting airstrikes in the Daraa governorate, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) showed no mercy as its pilots were ordered into battle and conducted multiple air raids over Daraa city on Tuesday.
With sorties being carried out by the hour throughout the day, the SyAAF struck numerous insurgent positions. Although the exact death toll on both sides remained unclear by the end of the day, one pinpoint airstrike did manage to set alight a rebel tank and trap its entire crew inside leaving them to an untimely demise.
SyAAF sorties over Daraa city today. pic.twitter.com/tQb4ZpkZco
— Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) February 14, 2017
Following several days of hostilities, jihadist militants fighting under the banner of Tahrir al-Sham and Southern Front seized several sites, most notably the Omar Mosque and Al-Najjar buildings, thereby capturing large swaths of the Manshiyah district in Daraa city.
Early reports indicated that rebel forces may have captured the neighborhood entirely; however, Al-Masdar News contacted one of its military sources based at the 5th Army Division Base whom insisted that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah (Lebanese paramilitary) still controlled the northern part of Manshiyah district.
Tahrir al-Sham and Southern Front have dubbed their Daraa offensive ‘Death before humiliation’ – these renewed hostilities may force the SAA to deploy seasoned troops or reservists to the governorate to fend off future attacks.