Battle of Darayya (November 2012–March 2013)

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Battle of Darayya (November 2012–March 2013)
Part of Rif Dimashq offensive (November 2012–February 2013)
Date 15 November 2012 - February 2013
Location Darayya, Syria
Result Rebel victory
  • FSA fighters take control of the city in mid-November 2012
  • Army captured the northwest edge of the city parallel to the Mezzah military airport[1][2][3][4]
  • Continued fighting and shelling in the city
Belligerents
Syria Syrian government SyrianNationalCoalitionOfficialLogo.svg National Coalition

Flag of Jihad.svg Mujahideen

Commanders and leaders
Bashar al Assad
Maher al-Assad
Mohamed Zawahiri[7]
Islam Aloush
Abu Ali Executed[8]
Units involved
4th Division
  • 42nd Armoured Brigade

Republican Guard

  • 103 Brigade
  • 104 Brigade
  • 106 Brigade
Daraya Martyrs battalion
Ahfad al-Rasul brigade
Strength
10,000 soldiers
400 tanks
~8,000 fighters[9]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
7,000+ combatants and civilians killed[3]

The Battle of Darayya (November 2012-March 2013) was fought from the end of 2012 to the beginning of 2013 between the Syrian Army and the Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburbs of Darayya.

Background[edit]

Darayya is a suburb of Damascus where rebels have attempted to create a stronghold near Damascus center. In August 2012, the Syrian Army defeated the rebel forces and took control of the town. After the failed rebel offensive in late July 2012, the Syrian army started a campaign against rebels in Damascus suburb that led to a massacre in Darayya with an estimated 500 people were found executed, with rebels and government accusing each other of being responsible for the massacre.[10]

Battle[edit]

The rebels again took control of the town in November 2012. Since, the city has been cut off, its electricity cut and has witnessed a continuous shelling. Most of the residents fled as soon as the battle started.[11] The rebels were successful at preventing the Syrian Army from entering the town until mid-December when the Army started to intensify their attacks on the city and the nearby city of Moadmiyah.[12]

On 20 December, after 30 days of siege, the newspaper Al Watan, close to the government, reported an army progress into Daraya, where the army penetrated the city and isolated rebels fighters in the city center. Al Watan added that most of the fighters were foreigners.[13]

On the 31 December, the Army launched its biggest attack on the city, with columns of armed vehicles trying to progress into the city. The rebels attempts to hit the presidential palace and Alawites neighbourhood with their homemade rockets were one of the reason for the assault.[14]

On 4 January, an opposition activist reported that the Syrian army was meeting a very strong resistance in Daraya, but that the Syrian soldiers managed to advance into the main street. The army was also firing from their artillery positions located in the Mount Qasioum on the orchards around Daraya.[15]

The Syrian Observatory, a rebel group, told that the army was sending more reinforcement to Daraya, while Al Watan newspaper wrote that the Army won the Daraya battle.[16]

On 5 January, the Syrian Army arrested Mohamed Zawahiri, the brother of the supreme leader of Al Qaida in Daraya.[7] Russian today Arabic correspondent was slightly injured when he felt on his hand while running to avoid being caught in crossfire. His report showed the army in control and patrolling most of the town. Rebels spread into different areas of Darayaa and the army still needed several mopping up operation to declare the area as safe.[17] On the same day, the rebel group Syrian Observatory reported that 10 people died in the fighting, including 6 rebels.[18]

On 6 January, the Syrian army killed a number of rebels near the Al Qasheia school in Daraya, and named the following rebels Odai al-Ward, Ahed Radwan, Moutez Mansour, Khaled al-khateeb, Omar Madwa, Tareq al-Dabbas, and Muhammed Tabow as being among the dead. Several other rebel groups were killed by the army in the other Damascus suburbs, including 12 who were named by the Army.[19]

On 8 January, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that the Syrian Army had took control of parts of Daraya and was sending more soldiers to push for the full conquest of the town.[20]

On 13 January, concording sources, from security officials to rebels groups revealed that the Syrian Army had taken much of Daraya, entering most of the neighbourhoods.[2]

On 19 January, it was reported that the rebels were still in control of parts of Daraya in spite of fierce clashes and heavy shelling by government forces. Rebels also claimed that a MiG pilot in Daraya had defected and used his fighter jet to bombard three Army positions in the area, killing 15 soldiers of the 4th Syrian Army Brigade. Although this was not independently confirmed.[3][4]

The rebel commander Abu Ali was killed in the shelling of rebels positions.[8]

On 24 January, the government was shelling Daraya from positions on the Qasioun mountain range west of Damascus.[21]

On 14 February, the Syrian Army attempted to push further into Darayya, but rebels were able to repel the offensive.[22]

In March, rebel forces were continuing to repel the advances of government forces, and captured a tank from them.[23]

Aftermath[edit]

In early August, state media reportedly showed that al-Assad visited his troops in Darayya, although SOHR was reporting the Syrian army shelling Darayya as recently as late June, and opposition activists report fighting as recently as mid-July.[24][25][26] Additionally, Russia Today reported one of its journalist was wounded the same week in Darayya from rebels within the city firing mortars back.[27] On 30 December 2013, Syrian regime helicopter gunship targeted Darayya with three barrel bombs. The barrel bombs landed near Al-Ansari and Al-Mustafa mosques, in the western part of the city, which has been under a tight siege by regime forces for over a year.[28]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blanford, Nicholas (26 January 2013). "Syrian sides prepare for key Damascus battle". The Daily Star. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Official: Syrian Troops Capture Much of Daraya". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  3. ^ a b c Damascus suburb pounded to dust in deadly battle
  4. ^ a b Syria Live Blog
  5. ^ "BBC Arabic: Groups affiliated to al-Qaeda carry out acts of terror". Champress. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Yezdani, İpek (2 September 2012). "Rebels fighting against al-Assad rule fragmented, disorganized in Syria". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  7. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  8. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "Syrian rebel leader talks victory and squalor - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  10. ^ Janine di Giovanni (7 September 2012). "Syria crisis: Daraya massacre leaves a ghost town still counting its dead". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  11. ^ "Top Syria rebel commander killed in battle". The Peninsula Qatar. 2012-12-16. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  12. ^ "Syria troops press assault southwest of Damascus". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  13. ^ "Syrian forces advance in Daraya – local newspaper". Islamicinvitationturkey.com. 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  14. ^ "Assad's forces push to retake Damascus suburb". JPost. Reuters. 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  15. ^ "Syrian warplanes bomb suburbs of the capital". Channel One News. 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  16. ^ "Syria Jets, Troops Wage Offensive on Rebels near Damascus". Naharnet. 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  17. ^ "From 'Syrian Battlefield' : "Injured" Reporter Reports On Syrian Army Operation". YouTube. 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  18. ^ "Report: Syrian journalist dies of wounds". Breitbart. Associated Press. 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  19. ^ http://www.sana-syria.com/eng/337/2013/01/06/460576.htm
  20. ^ "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  21. ^ [3][dead link]
  22. ^ "Syria rebels battle for airports in Aleppo region". Los Angeles Times. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  23. ^ "Tijdlijnfoto's". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  24. ^ http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130801/API/1308010601?tc=ar Syrian TV: Assad visits troops in Damascus suburb
  25. ^ https://www.facebook.com/syriahroe/posts/384575934984084
  26. ^ http://syrianewsdesk.com/en/news/violent-clashes-erupt-daraya
  27. ^ http://rt.com/news/rt-correspondent-wounded-syria-390/
  28. ^ http://syrianewsdesk.com/en/2013/12/30/news-regime-helicopters-pound-daraya-barrel-bombs