24 June 2018
The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria issued a statement saying: “Over the past 24 hours, after repelling a massive offensive of the Jabhat Al-Nusra units (terror group, outlawed in Russia) in the southern de-escalation zone, the formations of the Free Syrian Army, controlling the settlements of Khabab, Khirbat Al Msap, Jerfi, Asem, Sheikh Gharbiya, Sheikh Sharki, Al Shumariya, Hirbat az Zababir, Deir-Dama, Al Shiyakh and Jadal, voluntarily sided with the government troops. By the end of June 23 these settlements were fully under control of the legitimate Syrian authorities,”
The Center added: “The units of the Free Syrian Army operating there joined the government troops to carry out joint operations against terrorists of the Islamic State and Jabhat Al Nusra (terror groups, outlawed in Russia).
This statement came only hours after the Russian Air Forces launched a massive offensive over northeastern Daraa, targeting several areas controlled by the Islamist militants.
A military source in the government stronghold of Izra’a told Al-Masdar that “the Russian Aerospace Forces launched over 20 airstrikes across northeastern Dara’a tonight”.
In this regard, Christopher Assad, a Syrian ex-pat and a long time observer and political commentator on Syria, believes the offensive against the US, Israeli and Gulf proxies in Daraa is a matter of Syrian national security for four reasons:
- The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s standing orders to the armed forces to liberate all areas under terrorist organizations’ control because they pose a threat to citizens and to public and private property.
- The Southern provinces’ economic well being depends largely on exports to Jordan which imports most of its food from the region and is experiencing a hard time to import food products from other sources due to high costs that Jordanians cannot afford given their collapsed economy.
- Syria cannot allow the Israeli and the US plans to maintain a buffer zone between the Syrian forces and the illegally occupied Syrian Golan Heights under any circumstances.
- The Syrian government must address the pressure from the citizens in the region who have been demanding the Syrian Army to put an end to the constant shelling and harassment of the towns and military bases nearby.