The Syrian army has taken control of a strategic hill that overlooks the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, as Damascus government forces score fresh gains against remnants of terrorist groups in the country’s troubled southwest.
Syria’s state television said on Monday that the army had taken control of al-Harah hill in the second day of a major offensive to seize the remaining militant-held parts of southwestern provinces.
Syrian official news agency SANA, citing a military source, also said the army had captured a string of villages, including al-Tiha and Zimrin.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also confirmed that Damascus government units had made a “quick advance” against militants in the western part of Dara’a.
“Syrian … forces captured the town of al-Harah, as well as Samlin, al-Tiha and Zimrin,” media outlets quoted observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman as saying.
He said the government troops had ousted militants from al-Tiha in a military advance, while armed groups in al-Harah had agreed to a surrender deal.
He added that militants in a nearby town, Nawa, were in talks for a similar agreement.
The surrender deals were reportedly mediated by Russia. In a bid to minimize civilian casualties, both Damascus and Moscow have been initiating talks with militants to make them hand back the areas they control to the government without fighting. The militants have handed over their heavy weapons.
According to the SOHR, pro-Damascus forces are now holding more than 80 percent of Dara’a province.
Now that Dara’a is under the Syrian government’s control again, the much reported collaboration between anti-Damascus militants and the Israeli regime would effectively be disrupted. Israel has beefed up its military presence in the Golan Heights in recent days. The Israeli regime has also been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.
Since June 19, the Syrian army has been conducting a liberation operation in Dara’a, which borders Jordan and the Golan Heights.
Dara’a was the birthplace of sedition that was born in March 2011 before morphing into a foreign-backed militancy that continues to this day.
A series of latest gains in the strategic southwestern province of Quneitra, which borders Jordan, Lebanon and the Golan Heights, have also put foreign-backed militancy under pressure across the region.
Israel has been on high alert in recent days as Syrian government forces advance against foreign-backed terrorists near the Golan Heights.
Tel Aviv has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.