The SW effort is about over – Idlib next


 "On July 19, the remaining militants of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the southern governorate of al-Quneitra surrendered and accepted an evacuation agreement, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria.

Under the agreement, the militants will hand over all of their weapons to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and then withdraw to the opposition-held areas in northern Syria, likely the governorate of Idlib.

The militants will also hand over two observation posts near the villages of Umm Batinah and Ruwayhibah, inside the demilitarized zone, to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Back in 2013, the UNDOF withdrew from these posts following an attack of HTS.

The agreement, which will be executed over the upcoming days, will allow tens of thousands of displaced civilians to return to their towns and villages in the western Daraa countryside and al-Quneitra. Currently, most of these civilians are taking shelter near the separation line in the Golan Heights.

Once al-Quneitra is secured, the SAA and its allies will likely launch a large scale military operation against the ISIS-affiliated Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid in the western Daraa countryside."  SF


This surrender of all FSA and HTS (al-Qa'ida) forces in Quneitra Province will bring the SAA and the NDF militia up to the UNDOF zone at the B and C Lines.  The SAA is already across Line C in the Quneitra Town (demolished by Israel in 1974) sector of the DMZ.  How that will be resolved is anyone's guess since Israel has been very specific about the SAA staying out of the UNDOF run DMZ.

Next on the agenda has to be the elimination of the pocket held by the Khalid bin Walid affiliate of IS.  This is backed up in the far SW corner of Syria.  IMO these jihadis are not the really hard core DIP types met elsewhere and will probably surrender after being roughed up a bit.  That will complete the action in SW Syria.

The amount of heavy materiel in working order that has been surrendered to the SAA is impressive;  tanks, APCs, artillery, mobile AAA (Shilka) and an astonishing amount of other weaponry, signal equipment and ammunition are included in the booty.  A lot of US and Saudi money is helping to make the SAA a heavier and heavier force.

The better units of the SAA and Republican Guard having been moving north for a week on the M-5 Highway, now open to traffic all the way to northern Hama Province.  After some re-fitting and rest, the Idlib liberation offensive will begin. 

In preparation for that a truce was negotiated between the IRGC and the jihadis for the evacuation to Aleppo City of the 6,000 odd inhabitants of the two Shia villages of Fou'a and Kafraya near Idlib City.  This evacuation seems to have been completed.  pl

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