Fort Russ – 25th January, 2016
As of 10:30 P.M. (Damascus Time) on Monday night, the Islamist rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) have suffered their biggest defeat in southern Syria after the Syrian Arab Army’s 15th Brigade of the 5th Armored Division and their allies imposed full control over the strategic city of Sheikh Miskeen in the Dara’a Governorate’s northern countryside.
The final battle for Sheikh Miskeen began at 8:30 A.M. (Damascus Time) when the Syrian Arab Army’s 15th Brigade – in close coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the 7th Mechanized Division – captured the Al-‘Umari Mosque in the city’s west district.
This successful military operation was followed by the Syrian Armed Forces seizing the remaining neighborhoods in the Al-Diri District, where the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army had resisted for several weeks after the pro-government forces captured the Battalion 82 headquarters and housing facility.
With the capture of the Al-Diri District, the Islamist rebels had just 2 building blocks left under their control; however, these did not remain with them for very long, as the Syrian Arab Army’s 15th Brigade seized the remaining buildings and declared the entire city liberated.
According to a military source at the 5th Armored Division’s headquarters in the city of Izra’a, the Syrian Armed Forces lost a total of 98 soldiers during this massive offensive; this death toll includes members of the National Defense Forces and the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA).
The source added that the Islamist rebel casualties were estimated between 300-400 combatants – these numbers cannot be confirmed as of yet.
The capture of Sheikh Miskeen has now paved the way for the Syrian Armed Forces to attack the strategic cities of Da’el, ‘Ibta, and Nawa in western Dara’a.