Syria rebels end failed
Daraa offensive

Foreign powers have reportedly withdrawn their support for the Southern Front due to its failed Daraa campaign.

Smoke rises over Daraa. (YouTube/Bashar al-Assad Crimes Archive)

BEIRUT – The Free Syrian Army-affiliated Southern Front has officially ended its campaign to seize Daraa after the offensive on the provincial capital became bogged down in heavy back-and-forth fighting.


In a statement to anti-Damascus outlet All4Syria, the spokesperson of the rebel coalition said that the “Southern Storm” campaign, which began on June 25, “has ended completely.”


“The operations rooms, which were already present in the sectors around the city in the first place, have gone back to keeping a partial and ramshackle watch,” Southern Front spokesperson Ahdam al-Krad said.


“There are no meetings by the ‘Southern Storm’ operations room at all,” he added.


“The operation formed a kind of frustration among Daraa residents. Tedium and indignation now [mark] the language of discourse in circulation, and there are voices calling for the re-structuring of forces.”


“The battle achieved some results on the ground insofar as it revealed some of their weak points with regard to organization, errors in coordination and other military errors.”


According to Krad, the battle also revealed “the degree of enemy lines’ preparations, and exposed, to everyone, the extent to which supply lines failed and the negative and direct effect this had on the battle.”


He added that the failure of “Southern Storm” had made most of young men “of grey nature” decide to emigrate or disassociate themselves from the “tune of armed struggle.”


The Southern Front launched the offensive on Daraa in late June following a series of stunning successes in the southern Syrian province.


The coalition had seized the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in early April and the regime’s 52nd Brigade base northeast of Daraa on June 9.


Foreign powers withdraw backing for Southern Front


A week before the rebel spokesperson’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 said to be 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 member 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.

Smoke rises over Daraa. (YouTube/Bashar al-Assad Crimes Archive)

The operations rooms, which were already present in the sectors around the city in the first place, have gone back to keeping a partial and ramshackle watch.