2014 Quneitra offensive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Quneitra offensive
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Road from Quneitra to Damascus (48690282).jpg
Road from Quneitra to Damascus in the offensive zone (photo taken in 2005)
Date27 August – 23 September 2014
(3 weeks and 6 days)
Location
Result

Rebel victory

  • Rebels take control of about 80 percent of towns and villages in Quneitra province[4] and seize the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan.[5]
  • Rebels capture the Quneitra Crossing,[3] ten villages/towns,[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] one base and two strategic hills[7][12]
  • Rebels pull back from western Damascus countryside into northern Daraa countryside[9]
  • Al-Nusra Front takes 45 U.N. peacekeepers hostage on 28 August[13](released on 12 September)[14]
  • Army counter-attack on Mashara repelled.[15]
Belligerents

SRCC

Al-Nusra Front[3]

Syria Syrian Arab Republic

United Nations UNDOF
Commanders and leaders
Muhammad Majid al-Khatib
(Alwiya al-Furqan leader)[16]
Abu Uthman
(Ansar al-Huda commander)[17]
Brigadier-general Nazir Fuddah [18] Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha
Units involved

Alwiya al-Furqan[16]
Ahrar ash-Sham[2]
Ansar al-Huda[17]
Ababil Houran Brigade[19]
Fursan al-Ababil brigade[19]
Jabhat Ansar al-Islam
Youth of Sunnah Brigade

Quneitra Military Council[20]

7th Division[21]

90th Brigade[22]
Unknown
Strength
Unknown Unknown UNDOF: Hundreds[5]
119–120
(Quneitra border crossing area)[13]
Casualties and losses
76+ rebels killed[3][23][24][25][26] 71+ Syrian soldiers killed[15][27]
11+ captured[28]
1 Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet downed by Israel[29]
44–45 U.N. peacekeepers captured[13]

The 2014 Quneitra offensive, code-named “The Real Promise”[22] or "Chargers of Dawn",[19] was a military operation launched by Syrian rebels during the Syrian civil war in Quneitra Governorate, in an attempt to take control of several sections in the central part of the province and around Quneitra city "with the aim of opening the way to Damascus."[30]

The Quneitra Crossing is considered to be a "gateway" into Damascus from the west. The rebel capture of the crossing meant that the rebels gained control over a long section of the border with Lebanon (Sheikh Mountains), Jordan and the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

Rebel offensive[edit]

Quneitra crossing and UN personnel crisis[edit]

On 27 August, rebels took control of the Quneitra Crossing between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. At least 20 soldiers and 14 rebels were killed during the battle. Fighting in the area continued in towns northeast of the crossing,[3] while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shelled two Syrian army positions in retaliation for six mortar shells that fell in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the wounding of an Israeli officer. The Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham and other rebel groups (including moderate groups) participated in the fighting.[2] The next day, fighters from the Nusra front captured 44-45 U.N. peacekeepers and surrounded 75 others, resulting in a gun fight that lasted over 7 hours. A group of 35 U.N. soldiers were successfully escorted out of the UN encampment in Breiqa by their colleagues. Rebels tried to breach the Rwihana U.N. encampment, but the attack was repelled by the U.N. defenders with support from the Syrian Army. The remaining 40 peacekeepers were eventually evacuated during the night of 29 August, after a ceasefire was established.[13]

Quneitra countryside offensive[edit]

On 4 September, rebels announced the start of a new military operation in the Quneitra countryside,[31] Over a period of two days, rebels managed to capture Mashara town,[32] the Tell Mashara and the Khamiseyyi Detachment.[7] At least 21 rebels were killed since the start of the operation.[23] According to Charles Lister, the offensive was led by the FSA backed by the al-Nusra Front.[1]

On 6 September, the Army launched a counter-attack to recapture Mashara town,[7] but reportedly failed.[15] Meanwhile, rebels captured the Majduliya hospital which served as an Army stronghold.[17] According to the SOHR, at least 26 soldiers and 17 rebels were killed that day,[24] while the pro-government Al-Masdar news site reported over 50 rebels were killed in an ambush by a Druze militia.[33] Al-Masdar news also claimed that government forces captured the town of Nabe’ al Sakher.[34] However, according to at least one pro-opposition source, the town already appeared to be under government control before the offensive was launched.[35] Rebels captured Nabe’ al Sakher the next day.[8]

On 9 September, Syrian Army units retreated from the Khan al-Hallabat area, after rebels advanced there.[36] At the same time, rebels captured the strategic Tell al-Mal, which connects the Quneitra and Daraa provinces.[12] Later that day, rebels also captured Al-Mal, al-Taiha, Aqraba[9] and the provincial border village of Kafr Nasij east of the hill.[6] At least eight rebels were killed that day.[25] At this point, according to the SOHR, rebels controlled about 70% of the villages and towns in Quneitra Governorate.[37]

On 10 September, rebels in the western countryside of Damascus pulled back into the northern countryside of Daraa province after the latest rebel gains.[9] Meanwhile, rebels were advancing toward the outskirts of Madinat al-Baath, Khan Arnabah and into the ruined city of Quneitra, while the Army send reinforcements to al-Harra, al-Sanamayn, al-Jidiya and Zimrin east of Golan.[38] The next day, Al-Nusra Front released all 45 U.N. peacekeepers they abducted on 28 August.[14]

On 12 September, rebels took control of the villages of Rawadi and al-Hamidiya, while they were also trying to capture the towns of al-Baath and Khan Arnabah.[10]

As of 13 September, the Syrian government has lost control of about 80 percent of towns and villages in Quneitra province.[4] Two days later, the rebels managed to completely seize the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan. At the same time, the United Nations was forced to pull back hundreds of peacekeepers to the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan. According to the Syrian ambassador Bashar Jaafari, the rebels took over their bases, weapons and vehicles.[5]

On 18 September, rebels captured the Deir al-Adas area in Daraa province, east of Kafar Nasig, after the Army pulled back from it.[11]

On 23 September, rebels announced the start of the Battle of "Nasron Mena Allah wa Fathon Qarib", targeting two hills and two bases related to 90th Brigade. Their aim was the complete control over the Quneitra countryside and the siege of the towns of Khan Arnabah and al-Baath. At the same day, the IDF downed a Syrian fighter jet that had infiltrated into Israeli airspace.[29][39] The pilot died later that day,[27] while at least 16 rebels were killed around the village of Taranja in the northern Quneitra countryside.[26] The rebel attack failed and was ended shortly after.

Aftermath[edit]

On 14 October, rebels of the "Fajer al Tawhid- First Corps Operation Room" announced the start of the "Qasas al Adel" battle, which aimed to capture Tell Krum hill, Jaba town, Mant al Faras detachment, Robai checkpoint and the Army held-Sharia School.[40] This rebel operation also failed its objectives.

On 21 October, the Army launched a counter-attack on the villages of al-Samdaniya and al-Hamidiya among the arrival of new Army reinforcements in an attempt to regain control of this area.[41] According to Al-Masdar, pro-government troops recaptured Al-Samdaniya and broke through the defenses of the rebels in Al-Hamidiya, where heavy clashes occurred as the military was pushing into the village.[42] The fighting led to the death of a commander in a rebel brigade and four other rebels.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Charles Lister: 5-9-2014". Twitter. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Syrian Islamists seize Golan Heights border crossing
  3. ^ a b c d "Syrian planes attack Golan Heights border post captured by rebels". Haaretz.com. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Rebels seize most of Syrian side of Golan truce line". NOW. 13 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Syrian rebels seize UN weapons on the Golan". 16 September 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Advancements for Al-Nusra Front and rebel battalions in countryside of Daraa and 4 martyrs in Bakrba". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "Rebel gains in Quneitra countryside". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Al Qunaytera Province: 7-9-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d "Daraa province: 10-9-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Quneitra province: 12-09-2014". Facebook. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Daraa province: 18-09-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  12. ^ a b "قوات النظام تتقدم في ريف حماه وتتراجع في ريف القنيطرة". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d "Golan Heights peacekeeper crisis: Filipinos escape, Fijians taken hostage". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Fijian peacekeepers in Syria freed". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "Syria rebels reportedly advance near Golan Heights". i24news. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Muhammad Majid al-Khatib: A Rising Leader in the Free Syrian Army". Jamestown Foundation. 28 February 2014. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "Massacre in Raqqah and heavy fighting in Quneitra". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  18. ^ Oryx. "Captured Russian spy facility reveals the extent of Russian aid to the Assad regime". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  19. ^ a b c MESOP NEWS ROUND UP SYRIA : REBELS VICTORY OF QUNEITRA OPENS PATH TO GHOUTA Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "The Moderate Rebels: A Complete and Growing List of Vetted Groups". Democratic Revolution, Syrian Style. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Syria forces ranged for major counteroffensive to dislodge rebels from Quneitra. High tension on Golan". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  22. ^ a b Jabhat al-Nusra advances on Quneitra, gains border crossing
  23. ^ a b "Quneitra province: 5-09-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  24. ^ a b "More than 40 killed in the countryside of Quneitra". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  25. ^ a b "The martyrdom of 8 rebels in Quneitra countryside". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Al Qunaytera Province: 24-09-2014". Facebook. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Al Qunaytera Province: 23-09-2014". Facebook. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  28. ^ "ضباط وجنود أسرى لدى جبهة النصرة يناشدون النظام لمبادلتهم". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  29. ^ a b "اسقاط طائرة سورية على الحدود بين الجولان المحرر والجولان المحتل". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  30. ^ "More than 40 dead in clashes between Syrian army and rebels in Quneitra". Fox News Latino. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  31. ^ "Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic battalions announce a new battle in al-Quneitra". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  32. ^ "Quneitra province: 6-9-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.[better source needed]
  33. ^ Leith Fadel. "50 rebel fighters killed in ambush by druze militia". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  34. ^ Breaking News in the Golan: Syrian Army Liberates Vital Village
  35. ^ "NEW MAP: Battles of #Qunaitra Province." Twitter. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  36. ^ "Al Qunaytera Province: 9-9-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  37. ^ "About 70 % of the villages and towns in Quneitra under rebel control". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  38. ^ "Syrian rebels break uneasy peace in Golan Heights". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  39. ^ Israel shoots down Syrian fighter jet that ‘infiltrated’ airspace. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
  40. ^ "The rebel and Islamic factions have announced new battle in al Qunaytera". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  41. ^ "al-Quneitra province: 21-10-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  42. ^ "Syrian Army Captures Al-Samdaniyya in Quneitra; Rebels Capture 'Umm Mayaazan in Dara'a". Al-Masdar News. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  43. ^ "Al Quneitra Province: 22-10-2014". Retrieved 21 November 2014.