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Syria Southern Front commander
favors political solution

General Fayez Mjareesh's comments come after a report that foreign powers cut off their support for the rebel coalition.

Southern Front official Fayez Mjareesh. (image via All4Syria)

BEIRUT – A commander in the Free Syrian Army-linked Southern Front voiced support for political solution the civil war raging in his country after a report that his rebel coalition has lost foreign military support.

 

Brigadier General Fayez Mjareesh told the pro-opposition All4Syria outlet that he was “completely convinced that after four and a half years since the Syrian revolution that there is no place for a military solution.”

 

“As much as we are strong on the ground, we are [also] able to achieve positive results on the debating table,” he added in the unusual interview published Thursday morning.

 

Mjareesh’s comments come after his rebel coalition’s offensives against the Bashar al-Assad regime in southern Syria ground to a halt, following the failure of the “Southern Storm” campaign started in late June to seize the provincial capital of Daraa.

 

In the months leading up to the offensive, the Southern Front had notched a series of stunning successes, seizing the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in early April and the regime’s 52nd Brigade base northeast of Daraa on June 9.

 

Despite the Southern Front official’s support for dialogue, he emphasized rebels would maintains strict negotiating red-lines.

 

“We have red lines, the first of which is that Bashar al-Assad has no role in the transitional period–that his departure is a fundamental condition.”

 

“The second is the unity of Syrian territory. We will not accept the implementation of any project that aims to divide Syria.”

 

A week before Mjareesh’s interview, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported that the US-run Military Operation Center (MOC) based in Jordan had “stopped all financial assistance to the Southern Front for the moment after it failed to take control of Daraa.”

 

The MOC, which is reportedly directed by the CIA and a number of Washington’s allies in the region, had been supporting and supervising the FSA-affiliated Southern Front’s campaign in the Daraa province, according to reports.

 

A military source told Al-Quds al-Araby that the MOC had completely opposed the Southern Front’s decision to launch an offensive to seize Daraa city, preferring instead that the rebels take control of the strategic Khirbet Ghazaleh area to cut off regime supplies into the province.

 

However, “at the moment when the battle for Daraa began, MOC provided the rebels with a massive amount of ammunition and weapons.”

 

“This included rocket launchers and truckloads of ammunition in the dozens, but it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the progress of the battle.”

 

The source’s comments mirror those of FSA Higher Military Council Ayman al-Aasimi, who told Alaraby Aljadeed in late June that the Southern Front had committed major strategic blunders.

 

The FSA official said he believes the Southern Front’s offensive should have started with the occupation of Khirbet al Ghazaleh—a town 15 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital—to ensure the severing of all supply lines into Daraa.

Southern Front official Fayez Mjareesh. (image via All4Syria)

As much as we are strong on the ground, we are [also] able to achieve positive results on the debating table.

  • WVD

    Time to quit. Maybe a can find a job in the Assad government hereafter.

    September 19, 2015