Syrian Arab Army Is All Set For The South

With enough troops to mount a massive assault and sustain it, the Syrian Arab Army looks increasingly confident to wrest the control of southern Syria from the terrorist groups, says Saurabh Kumar Shahi

Preparations are all done for the upcoming offensives in southern Syria, especially in the provinces of Darra and Quinetra. While the Syrian Arab Army has managed to liberate huge swathes of land in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Rif Damascus and DeirazZor, it had sort of neglected the southern regions, waiting for the opportune moment to start the operation. This moment has arrived. Not only does the SAA have enough troops to mount such an attack, they are also high in morale following the victories in the Rif Damascus region.
“On 20th May, the decision was taken to relieve all the soldiers from the 102nd batch of the SAA who were deployed continuously since 2010, and fighting since 2011. A total of around 8700 soldiers were relieved. They will now go back to their provinces, and will likely join the local National Defence Forces units,” says Leith Abu Fadel, noted Syrian analyst.
Sources close to TDI have confirmed that the forces situation for the SAA has improved and it has as many as 45,000-50,000 troops to mount any sort of operation. Sources also confirm that this has prompted both IRGC and Hezbollah to reduce their footprints in Syria remarkably. Hezbollah has close to 1500 troops in Syria now from their peak number of 9000. IRGC also has around 1200-1400 troops from their peak number of 6000, while all other units from Iranian Armed Forces, which are not part of the IRGC, are back in Iran.
Militias from Fatimaoun and Zainabyoun, made up of Afghan and Pakistani Shias are in same numbers as they were during the peak war period of 2014-2017.
The marching orders for the troops for Darra and Quinetra operation started on 20th ofMay when it was decided that battle-hardened Republican Guards and the 4th Mechanized Division of the Syrian Arab Army will participate in the offensive.  It was also decided that the 5th, 7th, and the 9th Divisions will also join the operation. Sources confirm that while 7th Division and 4th Mechanised had to be transferred from other fronts, 5th and 9th are currently based in the vicinity of the sectors in southern Syria where the operation is about to start.
The very next day on 21st May, the battle-hardened Tiger Forces also received the deployment order to move from Homs towards the south.
Sources close to TDI also revealed a bit of strategy for this operation. The first thrust shall be towards retaking the strategic Nassib border-crossing with Jordan. Jordanian intelligence will be on board with Russia to offer them will all the valuable inputs. Although technically Syrian troops are just 700 metres from the border, it will be a bloody battle. Especially because as of now Syrian Government controlled region forms a thinly elongated wedge amidst rebel-controlled territories on both sides. Clearly,the SAA will expand this wedge on both sides to make it safe from any possible movement in the future by the rebels to severe it from sides.
Only after this is done that the operations will shift towards the Lijat region in northeastern Darra.
Meanwhile, like in the past, Russian Reconciliation team has started offering terms to many towns in the region. The offer started on 24th of this month when two towns, Nehaj and Mahzeh, started negotiating. However several other towns rejected the offer. This is typical. Only when the military operation starts that the pressure is mounted on the towns to negotiate.
To take on the might of Syrian Army, opposition groups in southern Syria merged to form a coalition on 26th of May. It has been named Salvation Army, and currently has as many as 11 rebel groups in it. Sources say that the combined strength of this unit is around 22,000-24,000 fighters.
On 28th of May, orders came regarding the deployment of individual units. It appears that from the 4th Mechanised Division, the 42nd Brigade, also known as the Ghiath Forces, shall lead the operation in Quinetra province, moving towards Golan. They will be assisted by two out of three Palestinian paramilitaries deployed in southern Syria now, namely Liwa al Quds and Palestine Liberation Army (PLA). This front will also see 15th Brigade of the 5th Armoured Division leading the charge. Arab Nationalist Guard and several units of NDF will also join them here. A unit from Republican Guards, 106th Brigade to be precise, has also been sent at the time of writing of this report.
Meanwhile, in Darra, 39th and 40th Brigade of the 4th Mechanised Division and the Tiger Forces will lead the charge from Izra base. They will be aided by the Shock Troops from the 9th Storming Brigade and 15th Special Forces Division. 105th Brigade of the Republican Guards will also join this front. Several units of NDF, one Palestinian militia, namely PFLP GC, Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and Baath Battalions will also join this front.
The battle is going to be extremely bloody considering the strength of the rebel units here. However, the relatively flat terrain in most of the sectors here means that the SAA will be able to better use its Mechanized strength than it managed to do in the Eastern Ghouta sector of Rif Damascus early in the year.