Syria Launches Offensive Against Rebels in Golan Heights

Syria Shows Increasing Interest in Recovering Southern Territory

Syrian army forces, backed by militias, have attacked rebels in the Quneitra Province in recent days, moving against towns in the Golan Heights in an attempt to recover those lost to rebels in previous years. The troops appear to be making considerable gains, though bad weather is making the situation very unclear.

Just southewest of the capital city of Damascus, the Golan Heights has been dominated by rebel factions, particularly Islamist ones, in recent years. Fighting in the area has tended to attract Israeli intervention against Syrian military bases in the past, bolstering the rebels.

This had previously left Syria basically resigned to losing the heights, but with more Russian backing, Israel is likely hamstrung in its ability to keep the Syrian military from recovering lost ground, and the military seems to be shifting focus rather dramatically southward as a result.

This Quneitra Province fighting goes along with recent Syrian moves into the Daraa Province, along the Jordanian border, and looks to eliminate the entire southern front of the civil war. If they can do so, this would allow the Syrian military to refocus its effort across a much shorter frontier with rebel factions in the north.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.