Just one day after an unexpectedly fierce offensive against towns in Daraa, along the Syria-Jordan border, the Syrian military is now widening offensives on two fronts, attempting to deepen gains in Daraa and reclaim some strategically important territory along the Lebanese border.
The fighting along the Lebanese frontier involved fighting in Qusair and air strikes against rebel forces inside hilltop villages along the border. Those villages have been contested not only between Syria’s government and rebels, but also by Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, which has fought to protect Lebanese Shi’ites living on the Syrian side of the border.
The suggests a major change in strategy for Syria’s military, which had long been willing to cede territory to rebels while shoring up defenses in the major cities. The change likely reflects the growing use of the borders to smuggle arms to the rebels. Nowhere has this been more apparent than Daraa, where the US is openly operating a rebel training facility on the Jordan side of the border.
The Syrian government is also pressing Lebanon to do more to prevent arms smuggling along their border. Lebanon’s government is seen as mostly pro-Assad, but seems limited in its ability to actually stop the rebels along their frontier.
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