Opposition Insurgents Begin Seizing Terrain in Southern Syria by Michael Land and Blane Wallace - Institute for the Study of War
The Syrian armed opposition insurgency in Dera'a demonstrated its growing strength on March 1 by seizing several Assad regime military positions in the province in reaction to a large regime security operation in the north of the province. The scope and scale of the insurgent attacks represent a new threshold for the southern insurgency. The Syrian rebel operations against regime targets in Dera'a coincided with large local protests against both the regime’s security operations and the ongoing Russian-led pro-regime offensive in Idlib Province. The coordination demonstrates that the opposition in southwest Syria seeks to link its struggle with rebel groups in Idlib. The Syrian rebel insurgency in Dera'a will continue to pose a significant challenge to the Assad regime and could further metastasize as Assad continues to prioritize the Idlib offensive, thus creating a security gap in southern Syria. The Assad regime and its allies are in a tenuous security position in Dera'a; Assad’s security forces will likely struggle to quell an insurgency that has grown in breadth, coordination, and effectiveness.