by Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News
The battle for Dara’a is entering its critical stages as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) seeks to restore their presence in the imperative southwest part of the province. Earlier today, a convoy of reinforcements began their arduous journey from Homs to Dara’a under the command of Colonel Mohammad Jaber – the reinforcements were predominately from the recently formed SAA’s Special Forces unit known as the “Desert Hawks” (not to be confused with the NDF militia operating in the Latakia countryside).
According to a military source, the reinforcements entering Dara’a will be concentrated in 3 strategic areas: Sheikh Miskeen, Nawa, and Izra. Sheikh Miskeen is currently the most volatile of the 3 battles, with the SAA combatting Jabhat Al-Nusra militants in the East and South Districts. Nawa is one of the largest cities in the Dara’a Governorate that the SAA has recently withdrawn from following a large wave of attacks by Jabhat Al-Nusra on the southern hills. The SAA is attempting to counter the militants on this front, but lack the manpower currently to infiltrate into Nawa; this is why the reinforcements are vital to this battle’s fate.
Perhaps the one fight that has received the least amount of coverage, yet is far more crucial to the control of Dara’a is the battle for the city of Izra. Izra sits 11km northeast of Sheikh Miskeen and approximately 20km southeast of Nawa; its location is paramount for both the rebels and the SAA due to its proximity to southern Damascus. As the battle for Sheikh Miskeen intensifies, the control of Izra will become even more important.
Identified Jabhat Al-Nusra killed at Sheikh Miskeen:
1. Mustafa AL-Shahaadaat
2. ‘Iayad Al-Layteen
3. Jamaal ‘Abdel-Majeed Al-Hareeri
4. Ahmad ‘Adnan Ahmad Al-Hawaamd
5. Saamir Mohammad Al-Fateenaan
6. Safwan Jameel Thabeet
7. Ziad Isma’eel Jadeed