The Assad regime has suffered another military defeat in Syria’s conflict, this time in a failed offensive in Daraa Province in the south.
Syrian forces launched a major attack on Busra al-Harir on Tuesday, taking a corridor of five villages, trying to cut the highway between Daraa and Suweida Provinces, and launching hundreds of artillery shells into the town.
However, the attack was met by an effective resistance that killed scores of Syrian troops, mainly militiamen. The exact toll is not known, but activists on social media posted a series of photographs showing slain and captured troops.
The activists also claimed that seven armored vehicles, including tanks, were destroyed and others were seized.
Having proclaimed on Tuesday that the Syrian military had taken five villages and cut off Busra al-Harir, State news agency SANA makes no reference at all this morning to the offensive.
The defeat is the latest significant setback for the Assad regime since the start of the year. In the south, rebels have steadily advanced from Quneitra Province in the southwest, near the demilitarized zone with Israel, across Daraa Province and reaching the borders of Suweida Province. Earlier this month, they took the historic town of Busra al-Sham, near the Jordanian frontier, and the regime’s last border crossing with Jordan.
In the northwest, rebels punished a regime offensive which failed to cut off the route to opposition-held areas of Aleppo city. And at the end of March, the opposition took the provincial capital of Idlib and threatened to advance further towards Aleppo and Latakia Provinces.
An abandoned regime convoy, including three armored vehicles:
The rebel faction Liwa al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar in Busra al-Harir destroys a regime tank with a French Milan anti-tank guided missile:
The faction films a destroyed tank:
Another tank burning from rebel fire:
Slain troops, supposedly from Afghanistan, on the battlefield — Iran has been giving the incentives of money and residency to Afghan immigrants to fight for the Syrian regime:
There is also claimed video of a captured Asiatic soldier from Russia.
A captured regime soldier:
Bab al-Hawa Crossing on Turkish Border Put Under Civilian Administration
Opposition media report that the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Turkish border has been put under civilian administration, with the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham providing protection.
The crossing was claimed by the Free Syrian Army in July 2012. In December 2013, the Islamic Front bloc, including Ahrar al-Sham, took over the operations.
In early March, Turkey suddenly closed its side of the crossing, although commercial and emergency medical
vehicles can still pass and people can move from the Turkish side into Syria.
Deputy Foreign Minister Meets Iranian Foreign Minister in Tehran
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Monday.
Iranian media gave no details of the discussions, merely referring to al-Miqdad’s general remarks about fighting in Yarmouk in southern Damascus and recent talks in Russia between a regime delegation and selected members of the domestic opposition.
Rebels Strike Syrian Military in Jobar Section of Damascus
Rebel sources claim success in fresh attacks on the Syrian military in the Jobar section of northeast Damascus.
The “Straightening the Lines” offensive is hoping to link up units in Jobar with the Damascus suburbs of Harasta and Qaboun.
Pro-opposition activists claim rebels, including Jaish al-Islam, have taken the Electricity Department (see map for possible location) and several buildings in the Tiba neighborhood, destroying a tank and capturing heavy and light weapons. They announced the death of several Syrian troops and militia, including a commander in a pro-Assad militia.
The regime has responded with airstrikes and tank shelling, as “fierce clashes” continue.
Jobar has been held by the opposition since 2012, despite persistent regime bombardment and ground attacks.
Footage from the area: