Syrian Troops Advance Into al-Qaeda-Held Territory Near Israel

Territory Gains Part of a New Southern Offensive

Syrian troops, backed by Hezbollah, have set their sights on Quneitra, not far from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, aiming to retake the territory, which is largely held by al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra.

This is the first stop off in a reported southern offensive, which aims to retake all the territory around Damascus and to push Jordanian-backed rebels away from the Jordanian border.

Rebel mouthpiece the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say they believe the goal is to eventually turn over the border areas to Hezbollah’s special forces, though why they would do this, other than to be provocative to Israel, is unclear.

Syrian forces have been trying to retake territory from various rebel factions since the US began its airstrikes, but this offensive seems to be the first such attempt of such size and specific territorial focus.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of