As-Suwayda offensive (August 2018–present)

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As-Suwayda offensive (August 2018–present)
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Date6 August 2018 – present
(2 months, 2 weeks and 3 days)
LocationSuwayda and Rif Dimashq Governorates, Syria
Status

Ongoing

  • Syrian Army captures the Al-Suwayda part of the ISIL enclave[6]
Belligerents

 Syria

 Russia (since 5 October)[1]

Hezbollah[2][3]
SSNP[4]
State of Palestine Palestine Liberation Army
Mountain Brigade[5]
 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
State of Palestine Brig.Gen. Walid Mari al-Kurdi [7][8][9] Unknown
Units involved

Syrian Armed Forces

Russian Armed Forces

Eagles of the Whirlwind
Mountain Brigade

  • Rocks of Urman Battalion[5]
Military of ISIL
Strength
Unknown 1,000–1,200[11]
Casualties and losses
194 killed (per SOHR)[12]
600 killed and wounded (per government)[13]
368 killed,[12] 2 captured[14]

The As-Suwayda offensive (August 2018–present) began on 6 August, in rural areas of the Suwayda Governorate in southeast Syria after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) members committed a string of suicide bombings and gun attacks.[15]

The offensive[edit]

The Syrian Arab Army began an offensive on eastern Suwayda on 6 August 2018, around 16:00 (EET) after building up its forces in the area for several days. With its elite 4th Division at the head, the Syrian Arab Army succeeded in making progress in the eastern Badiya Desert after an intense battle with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during that afternoon.[16] The Syrian Arab Army continued on the following day with field operations in the eastern neighboring province of Suwayda, on the large pocket of ISIL near the Deir ez-Zor border. At the head of their fourth armored division, the Syrian Arab Army started the day by attacking the Shinvan and Al-Sakiiah areas held by ISIL.[17] On August 7, the pro-Government Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) captured and hanged a fighter of ISIL after one of his comrades executed a suicide bombing that killed at least four SSNP members.[18] On 8 August, Syrian forces continued to expel ISIL from the desert east of Suwayda in an attempt to recover the entire pocket. According to military sources, the Syrian Army, with the support of local fighters, managed to achieve further progress on several fronts; it reached the periphery of the towns of Qaisoum and Bir Maselam. The same source said that government troops were infiltrating about 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the cities of Rami and Shabka where ISIL committed a massacre on 25 July, when the group launched a sudden attack on several villages and towns east of Suwayda and slaughtered more than 200 civilians, and injured several hundred others.[19]

Siege of al-Safa[edit]

On 12 August, the Syrian Army and its allies surrounded the heavily fortified pocket of al-Safa, which is the last pocket of ISIL in As-Suwayda Governorate and Rif-Damasiq Governate.[20] On 16 August, ISIL asked for a ceasefire with the Syrian Army.[21] ISIL offered to release the kidnapped civilians from the Sweida Governorate in exchange for safe passage to the Al-Mayadeen countryside in rural Deir Ezzor.[22] The Syrian Arab Army told the Islamic State that they will not accept anything other than a complete surrender of this mountain and the release of the 30+ civilians that were kidnapped by their fighters.[23] The Syrian army sealed off the entire Al-Safa mountain on 23 August after several days of fighting.[22]

On 24 August, the Syrian Arab Army broke through the Islamic State’s defenses at the Khirbat Hawi area, which is located at the southwestern axis of the Al-Safa Mountain.[23] On August 25, ISIL launched a counter-offensive and managed to drive back the Syrian Arab Army troops from several points they captured the previous day.[24] At 28–29 August, the Syrian Arab Army managed to regain all lost points, along with capturing others positions from ISIL, including a strategic water dam in the Hawi Awad area.[25][26]

On 25 September, in clashes with ISIL, Brigadier General Walid al-Kurdi in charge of the Palestinian Liberation Army's special forces was killed in the Safa Volcanic field.[citation needed]

On 2 October, ISIL executed a Druze woman named Tharwat Abu Ammar, a hostage from the July 25th Suwayda attacks, threatening to kill a whole group of captive women and children within three days if Syrian Government forces didn't call off the al-Safa offensive and release ISIL prisoners.[27] Several Druze protestors in Suwayda, including several activists and religious leaders, stormed government buildings and demanded the government to work to release the captured Druze hostages. After a failure in talks with Russian officials, the Syrian Government and ISIL set up a committee to mediate between them.[28]

Hostages released[edit]

On 20 October, ISIL reached an agreement with Syrian and Russian officials to release 6 hostages in exchange of what was reportedly millions of dollars and talks are continuing for the rest of the other hostages.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Russian Air Force launches first strikes over Syria in several days
  2. ^ "Breaking: Syrian Army, Hezbollah impose fire control over ISIS stronghold in southeast Syria". Al-Masdar News. 9 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Video footage of Syrian Army's new offensive against ISIS in southwest Syria". Al-Masdar. 9 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Leith Aboufadel (18 June 2018). "In pictures: SSNP forces crack ISIL's lines in southeast Syria". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (27 July 2018). "The Suwayda' Attacks: Interview". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  6. ^ "After controlling its desert, al-Suwaidaa becomes the 5th province under the control of the regime forces completely and the fate of its kidnapped people after 19 days of detention is unknown". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  7. ^ http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=103269
  8. ^ https://syrianwardaily.com/2018/09/25/syrian-war-daily-25th-of-september-2018/
  9. ^ https://twitter.com/QalaatAlMudiq/status/1044554397680889857
  10. ^ "Breaking: Syrian Army liberates last water source under ISIS control". Al Masdar. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  11. ^ Syrian Army killed 288 Islamic State terrorists in 62 days – monitor
  12. ^ a b "معارك تلول الصفا العنيفة تتواصل مع ترقب الإفراج عن مختطفي السويداء وترفع لـ 823 تعداد من قضوا وقتلوا خلال 83 يوماً". SOHR. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  13. ^ https://rfsmediaoffice.com/2018/10/20/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%8A%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%81-%D8%A8%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84-600-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%AE%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD/
  14. ^ Syrian Army advances in last ISIS stronghold of east Swaida
  15. ^ "Syria war: More than 200 dead in suicide attacks". BBC. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Masdar News – 6 August 2018". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Syrian Army attempts to crack ISIL's lines in east Sweida". Al-Masdar. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  18. ^ "[Graphic 18+] Syrian forces in Sweida hang ISIS fighter after terrorist attack". Al-Masdar. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  19. ^ "VIDEO: Syrian Army seizes ISIS outpost in east Swaida". Al-Masdar. 8 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  20. ^ "In Maps: Syrian Army's Military Operation Against ISIL Cells In Eastern Al-Suwayda". SouthFront blog. 12 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  21. ^ "ISIS asks for ceasefire in east Sweida as Syrian troops advance (video)". Al Masdar. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Syrian Army cuts all supply lines to ISIL's last stronghold in southern Syria". Al Masdar. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Syrian Army achieves major breakthrough against ISIS in southern Syria". Al Masdar. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  24. ^ "ISIS inflicts heavy casualties on Syrian troops as they launch major counter-offensive in southern Syria". Al Masdar. 25 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Breaking: Syrian Army liberates last water source under ISIS control". Al Masdar. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Syrian Army kills over 15 ISIS terrorists after liberating new sites in southern Syria". Al Masdar. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  27. ^ "ISIS execution of Druze woman enrages community". 3 October 2018.
  28. ^ https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1416236/syria-sweida-tensions-rise-after-isis-executes-captive-young-woman
  29. ^ https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/ISIS-releases-six-Druze-hostages-569832