By Alex Torrell, @alextorrell
Government forces have begun a fresh offensive against the US-backed forces in east Sweida and eastern Damascus countryside. The attack comes after a ceasefire for the Syrian south, including the provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Suweida, was reached between Russia and the US. On the first day of the ceasefire, the government forces and their allies made substantial advances.
In one day, the Syrian Arab Army, supported by the Syrian Socialist National Party, the Palestine Liberation Army and the IRGC-linked Jaafariyah group, captured territory from the US-backed Martyr of Ahmed Al-Abdo brigade and Usud al-Sharqiya armed faction. The main goals of this new offensive appear to be the full capture of Suweida governorate, eventually reaching the rebel-held border crossing of al-Tanf, where US special forces are also stationed. During the offensive, Jabal Makhul, Tell al-Fidian, Jabal Sais, al-Asfar and Tulul Salman aswell as dozens of other villages and hilltops.
The strategy is to create a pincer movement and leave a small corridor in order to force FSA troops to retreat to Damascus southeastern desert, close to the Al Tanf area. The offensive is expected to be continued in the next days.