Southern Syria, New Battle Front?
As the Syrian army move to liberate more areas of Aleppo from foreign-backed terrorists, the Western countries and their allies are considering other options including moving the war to the southern parts of the country.
The Israeli regime is engaged in provocative acts in the Golan Heights, which is increasingly becoming a flashpoint in the ongoing Syria crisis.
Southern Syria is divided into two major areas: the liberated area of al-Quneitra, and the occupied area of the Golan Heights where Al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda terrorist groups base their fighters.
Tel Aviv has been attempting to drive the Syrian army out of al-Quneitra. Israel’s objective is to join this part of the Golan Heights to the territory it controls, thereby creating a buffer zone like the one it once had in southern Lebanon.
Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari has said Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights is a direct threat to regional stability and security.
Jaafari made the remarks while addressing the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. He noted that Israel’s support for terrorist groups in Golan also escalates the conflict in Syria.
Meanwhile, last week Syrian forces targeted terrorists in the southern al-Quneitra province, targeting Takfiri terrorists along the provincial border with the Dara’a province.
A few days later, a senior US military official noted that, “ISIS is set to carry out operations in Dara’a and al-Quneitra provinces.” US officials have been talking about escalation of the situation in south Syria and they have pointed that this is considered a threat. This escalation of clashes in south Syria will create a pretext for the US to intervene militarily.
A glance at the geography of the southern part of Syria and its relative calm compared to other parts of the war-torn country implies that reports of escalations in the area are a political bluff.
Reports predicting more clashes in southern Syria are coming amid the country’s army and resistance movement’s success in the decisive battle against terrorists in Aleppo. Syria army and its allies have managed to liberate all the southern and eastern parts of Syria while the western parts are expected to be freed from terrorist in the coming days. Any talk of a truce is meant to create escape routes for al-Nusra Front terrorists and other Takfiri terrorists in the region.
Challenges for Terrorists in Southern Syria
There are reasons to dispute claims by a US military commander that ISIS is moving to southern Syria. First, the major center of operations for ISIS in Iraq is Mosul and its de facto capital in Syria’s Raqqa. Therefore, if ISIS relocates from Raqqa this will have a negative impact on its strategies. Secondly, al-Quneitra region has a small population and thus cannot replace Halab which has a population of about 5.3 million people in an area of around 50,000 square kilometers.
The third point is that, al-Quneitra region borders the Israeli regime and thus allowing that area to be a major theatre of operations implies that the Israeli regime will be directly involved in the Syria crisis. The US is well aware that if terrorists relocate major operations to southern Syria, the consequence of that will be the entry of Hezbollah resistance forces and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps military advisers. Clashes in southern Syria can spill over into the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Lebanon and therefore Palestinian territories occupied by the Israeli regime will also be affected by the conflict.
Resistance forces are fully familiar with the terrain in southern Syria and thus it will be an easy area of operations. Unlike Aleppo, al-Quneitra has a lower population density and thus it is easy for the Syrian government to evacuate civilians and engaged enemies directly.
One of the major reasons the US has failed to achieve its objectives in northern Syria is lack of ground operations and the inability of its allies. The US cannot solve this problem by swapping warfronts. The ability of the US to engage in operations in southern Syria are less compared to northern parts of the country. This is due to the fact that northern Syria is close to the Incirlik Turkish airbase currently at the disposal of the US and its allies. This is while US-backed terrorists in southern Syria have very limited maneuverability options.
Refugees Influx to Jordan
If a new battle front is opened in southern Syria, Jordan is also set to suffer the consequences resulting from a sudden influx of refugees.
Indeed, Jordan has already closed its border area with Syria to all but the military as it seeks to limit the influx of Syrian refugees.
The country “cannot tolerate the burden of any additional Syrian refugees anymore, and will not allow the entry of refugees except in humanitarian cases,” Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency cited Prime Minister Hani Mulki as saying on Wednesday. About 75,000 refugees are stranded in a no man’s land between Jordan and Syria, Amnesty International said last month.
After recent political and military failures experienced by the US in Syria, any move to the southern part of the country will lead to major challenges and eventual failure. The situation in Syria remains complex and the victors in the country will be those able to persevere and resist in the face of adversities.
Several times over the last five years there were reports that the Syrian government is on the verge of collapse and the separation of the country with the resistance front. It is now apparent that, no amount of foreign pressure or terrorist operations can change the resolve of the Syrian people to continue in the path of resistance.