AMMAN Islamic Condition-joined Syrian militant groups on Monday released a surprise attack on reasonable rebels in southwestern Syria in the vicinity of the Golan Heights in the vicinity of where by the Jordanian and Israeli borders converge, seizing several villages and a significant town, rebels and witnesses mentioned.
Rebels mentioned the militants ended up in a position to extend their area of manage in territory that sorts a purely natural barrier involving Syria and Israel where by the Yarmouk River flows right after they overran the cities of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Tel Jamoua.
“In a surprise attack Islamic Condition made an attack on positions held by the Free of charge Syrian Army FSA groups which no one predicted to occur so rapid,” mentioned Colonel Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector.
The militants released a vast-scale dawn attack from their enclave where by they are entrenched in the cities of Jamla, Ain Zakar Nafaa and al Shajra, deploying dozens of armored autos and several tanks to overrun close by cities aided by sleeper cells between locals who assisted the attackers, two rebel sources mentioned.
The jihadists ended up later driven out of at the very least two villages – Jileen and Heet – right after a counteroffensive by Southern Front groups, an alliance of FSA factions that coordinates operations from a joint command centre in Jordan, mentioned Abu Yahya, a rebel formal in the Jabhat Thwar Surya faction.
It features groups that have acquired some assistance from foreign states together with Gulf Arab governments.
The Sunni hardline militants are users of the so-termed Khalid Ibn Al Walid Army, a grouping set up past year from a merger of two major militant jihadist factions who are thought to have pledged allegiance to Islamic Condition and now manage the strip of territory southeast of the Golan Heights.
Jordanian army units stationed alongside the border ended up place in a condition of heightened readiness, a Jordanian stability supply mentioned, and residents in the area mentioned sounds of mortars ended up heard clearly from the battling throughout the border.
A rebel formal told Reuters that several FSA rebel groups ended up predicted to get new supplies of arms from Jordan in the subsequent several months to beef up their defenses in opposition to the extremely-hardline Sunni radicals.
Earlier this thirty day period the Jordanian air power mentioned it carried out air strikes in opposition to the militants in the area, destroying an ammunition depot, a motor vehicle bomb factory and barracks.
Militants had reportedly executed several folks in Tseel, the largest town that fell into militants’ palms on Monday and which has been a haven for tens of thousands of displaced peoples
Tseel and most of the area captured by the militants had until finally early past year been in their palms until finally an alliance of FSA groups and rival Islamist groups wrested manage and then managed to lay siege on their territorial enclave.
The extremely-hardline militants’ offensive came as major battling involving rebels and the Syrian army entered its second 7 days in Deraa town, just about forty km (twenty five miles) east of the Yarmouk Valley, in the 1st these types of surge of violence in about a year and a fifty percent.
The timing of the Islamic Condition-affiliated group’s offensive has prompted accusations they had exploited the preoccupation of the FSA rebels in ongoing battles with the Syrian army.
Rebel innovations in a strategic district held by the army have prompted Russia to wage an intense bombing campaign of rebel-held areas of the southern town for the 1st time considering that Moscow’s significant intervention in September 2015.
The seize of Manshiya district would place the remaining governing administration-held section of the town within firing variety of the rebels and thwart recurring army tries to rupture offer strains linking rebel-held parts to the east and west of the town.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi Modifying by Jonathan Oatis)