Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rebels Take Key Southern Base in Syria, Dealing Blow to Assad

A coalition of moderate rebel factions known as the Southern Front captured the Brigade 52 military base on Tuesday afternoon. Brigade 52 is the largest military installation in Daraa province, which borders Jordan, and is key to the defense of northern routes leading to Damascus. (The Washington Post, 9 June)

The loss of the base adds to a string of recent battlefield defeats for Assad’s regime. An Islamist coalition led by al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra has seized northwestern Idlib province. The Islamic State insurgents the ancient city of Palmyra and territory from government forces in the east in addition to territories held by other opposition forces. The regime has so far weathered the widening civil war because of military and financial support from Iran and Russia, but appears to be at its weakest point in the four-year-old conflict.

Today’s capture of Brigade 52 was a major victory for the moderate Southern Front. In April, it also captured the last border crossing between Syria and Jordan that was held by the Assad government. The umbrella group operates a military operations center in Amman and receives financial and military support from the Arab countries and backing from the West, the Post said.

Image credit: Southern Front logo: the Syrian independence flag flanked by an AK-47 on each side and the Arabic inscription, Al-Jabhat al-Jonubiya (Southern Front). Wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

Most media sources I browsed indicate that these "moderates" also include the notorious Ahrar al-Cham Islamist group, that though not officially affiliated with either the IS or Al-Nusra, has repeatedly taken part in joint efforts with the latter entities to seize territory in various parts of Syria, notably the Idlib takeover as part of the Army of Conquest. Ideologically they preach a generalization of Shariah law in its salafist interpretation just as the other two other main, well-known aforementioned jihadist groups, and as such cannot technically be called moderates by any measure. At least I wouldn't try to put an emphasis on their supposedly moderate nature let alone rejoice at the sight of their advance, considering their strong presence within the Southern Front. And though they haven't yet been listed as a terrorist organizations by the US or its allies, they have been targeted by Coalition airstrikes since 2014, and considering the kind of plans they obviously have in store ideologically and politically for any future Syria, it's only fair, if you ask me. The Islamist element has long become a systematic, ever-present norm in every fighting force currently opposing the tyranny of the Assad regime. Sadly, the FSA, whatever it was, and other genuinely moderate forces at play in the opening years of the civil war stopped mattering a while ago already, due to various factors that would be too long to detail or attempt to analyze here anyway.

Nader Uskowi said...

This blog publishes news about Iran and regional developments relevant to our main subject. We did not publish this post to "rejoice" as claimed the advance of one faction in Syria, as we also publish news about the regime's advances as well as those of the Islamists.

The Southern Front is an umbrella organization of some 50 members that generally hold the more moderate views among the Syrian insurgent forces. Insurgency by definition, however, cannot be a moderate enterprise. It is usually forced upon societies by brutal dictatorships, like Assad's in Syria. But to analyze the situation, one can and should be able to distinguish between the different factions in the opposition, and inside the regime itself. Only diehard Assad followers, or those of any opposition faction, could regard the rest of the field with equal intensive hatred or dismissal.

Anonymous said...

Looks like all those billions of dollars of Iranian peoples money that the Islamic regime so likes to throw into Assad's regime is being wasted away.

Anonymous said...

Granted, a quite diverse composition indeed. Then we cannot insist on labelling them as moderates, or extremists for that matter, considering their documented composition. Djihadists tend to disqualify anything they are significantly part of by nature when present in serious numbers, specially in a context where the overwhelming tendancy making advances is their equal (or worse) on other various active fronts. A bit like a few thousand Iraqi forces diluted in a secondary role among tens of thousands of Iran-supported PMF forces aren't and cannot be perceived as a genuine national liberation force by locals in the sunni-dominated province of Iraq. We would indeed rather be talking about relevent, largely preponderant factions obviously, when attempting to portray a given umbrella. Diehard regime followers usually don't refer to themselves as a fledging tyranny as I did either, but rather alleged defenders of national unity and peace, of course. I agree that dismissing opposition forces as entirely being comprised of religious "terrorists" and observing the absence of genuinely moderate forces within the global spectrum of the parties engaged in a civil war are two entirely different things. Diehard opponents of a given regime can likewise take every bit of opportunity to disproportionately underline the slightest glimpse of non-extremist fringes still present among their own ranks to portray themselves as still being relevant while it has stopped from being the case for years now. A political settlement with possibly , finally the ouster of Assad as a symbol of the unwanted would be a way forward in having a chance to reverse the current tide of the conflict and reignite some 70,000 people's willingness to fight back those foreign-sponsored forces that are currently reluctant at being drafted under the rule of a megalomaniac and incompetent son of a dictator, and so with reason.