Clashes erupted in the province of Sweida after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) engaged with fighters of the US-vetted ‘Osoud Al-Sharqiya’, a branch of FSA.
The two warring parties battled it out in desert area of the northeastern portion of Sweida province as Syrian troops began attacking the villages of Isheib and Al-Qasir with artillery.
With no gains reported yet, the SAA’s offensive may have been a warning for the FSA to stay clear of government heartland in the predominately Druze governorate.
Two days ago, the SAA also attacked the rebel-held hill of Tall Dakwanah in a bid to prevent FSA contingents from advancing on the Syrian capital towards the East Ghouta pockets.
The Syrian Arab Air Force also carried out numerous sorties against FSA units over Sweida and eastern Homs on Thursday.
Osoud Al-Sharqiya was trained by US special forces in Jordan and was subsequently funneled into Syria across the Al-Tanf border crossing. Its fighters all originate from Deir Ezzor province, many of whom feel disenfranchised by what they see as an ISIS occupation of their homeland that began in 2014. The group is trained exclusively to fight the ISIS while clashes with the SAA are relatively new.