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Quneitra offensive
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Road from Quneitra to Damascus (48690282).jpg
Road from Quneitra to Damascus in the offensive zone (photo taken in 2005) (For a war map of the current situation in the Quneitra Governorate, see here.)
Date27 August – 23 September 2014
(3 weeks and 5 days)
LocationQuneitra Governorate and Daraa Governorate, Syria
Result

Rebel victory

  • Rebels take control of about 80 percent of towns and villages in Quneitra province[4] and seize the Syrian side of the Golan.[5]
  • Rebels capture the Quneitra Crossing,[2] ten villages/towns,[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] one base and two strategic hills[7][12]
  • Rebels break the siege of western Rif Dimashq[13] and pull back from western Damascus countryside into northern Daraa countryside.[9]
  • Al-Nusra Front takes 45 U.N. peacekeepers hostage on August 28[14](released on 12 September)[15]
  • Army counter-attack on Mashara repelled.[16]
Belligerents
Syria Free Syrian Army[1]
Al-Nusra Front[2]
Islamic Front[3]

Syria Syrian Arab Republic

United Nations UNDOF
Israel Israel
Commanders and leaders
Muhammad Majid al-Khatib
(Alwiya al-Furqan leader)[17]
Abu Uthman
(Ansar al-Huda commander)[18]
Brigadier-general Nazir Fuddah [19]
Units involved
Alwiya al-Furqan[17]
Ahrar ash-Sham[3]
Ansar al-Huda[18]
Ababil Houran battalions[20]
Fursan al-Ababil brigade[20]
7th Division[21]
90th Brigade[22]
Strength
Unknown Unknown UNDOF: Hundreds[5]
119–120
(Quneitra border crossing area)[14]
Casualties and losses
76+ rebels killed [2][23][24][25][26] 71+ Syrian soldiers killed [16][27]
11+ captured[28]
1 Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet downed by Israel.[29]

44–45 U.N. peacekeepers captured[14]


1 Israeli soldier wounded[3]


The 2014 Quneitra offensive, code-named “The Real Promise”[22] or "Chargers of Dawn",[20] is a military operation launched by Syrian rebels during the Syrian civil war in Quneitra Governorate, in an attempt to take control of several sections in the central part of the province and around Quneitra city "with the aim of opening the way to Damascus."[30]

The Quneitra Crossing is considered to be a "gateway" into Damascus from the west. The rebel capture of the crossing means that the rebels are now in control over a long section of the border with Lebanon (Sheikh Mountains), Jordan and the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.

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Rebel offensive

Quneitra crossing and UN personnel crisis

On 27 August, rebels took control of the Quneitra Crossing between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. At least 20 soldiers and 14 rebels were killed during the battle. Fighting in the area continued in towns northeast of the crossing,[2] while the IDF shelled two Syrian army positions in retiliation of six mortar shells that fell in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the wounding of an Israeli officer. The Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham and other rebel groups (including moderate groups) participated in the fighting.[3] The next day, fighters from the Nusra front captured 44-45 U.N. peacekeepers and surrounded 75 others, resulting in a gun fight that lasted over 7 hours. A group of 35 U.N. soldiers were successfully escorted out of the UN encampment in Breiqa by their colleagues. Rebels tried to breach the Rwihana U.N. encampment, but the attack was repelled by the U.N. defenders with support from the Syrian Army. The remaining 40 peacekeepers were eventually evacuated during the night of 29 August, after a ceasefire was established.[14]

Quneitra countryside offensive

On 4 September, rebels announced the start of a new military operation in the Quneitra countryside,[31] while at the same time, IDF warplanes bombarded the headquarters of the Brigade 90 base, killing three soldiers.[32] Over a period of two days, rebels managed to capture Mashara town,[7] the Tell Mashara and the Khamiseyyi Detachment.[7] At least 21 rebels were killed since the start of the operation.[23] According to Charles Lister, the offensive is led by the FSA backed by the al-Nusra Front.[1]

On 6 September, the Army launched a counter-attack to recapture Mashara town,[7] but reportedly failed.[16] Meanwhile, rebels captured the Majduliya hospital which served as an Army stronghold.[18] According to the SOHR, at least 26 soldiers and 17 rebels were killed that day,[24] while the pro-government Al-Masdar news site reported over 50 rebels were killed in an ambush by a Druze militia.[33] Al-Masdar news also claimed that government forces captured the town of Nabe’ al Sakher.[34] However, according to at least one pro-opposition source, the town already appeared to be under government control before the offensive was launched.[35] Rebels captured Nabe’ al Sakher the next day.[8]

On 9 September, Syrian Army units retreated from the Khan al-Hallabat area, after rebels advanced there.[36] At the same time, rebels captured the strategic Tell al-Mal, which connects the Quneitra and Daraa provinces.[12] Later that day, rebels also captured Al-Mal, al-Taiha, Aqraba[9] and the provincial border village of Kafar Nasig east of the hill.[6] At least eight rebels were killed that day.[25] At this point, according to the SOHR, rebels controlled about 70% of the villages and towns in Quneitra Governorate.[37]

On 10 September, rebels in the western countryside of Damascus pulled back into the northern countryside of Daraa province after the latest rebel gains.[9] Meanwhile, rebels were advancing toward the outskirts of Madinat al-Baath, Khan Arnaba and into the ruined city of Quneitra, while the Army send reinforcements to al-Harra, al-Sanamayn, al-Jidiya and Zimrin east of Golan.[13] The next day, Al-Nusra Front released all 45 U.N. peacekeepers they abducted on 28 August.[15]

On 12 September, rebels took control of the villages of Rawadi and al-Hamidiya, while they were also trying to capture the towns of al-Ba'th and Khan Arnabah.[10]

As of 13 September, the Syrian government has lost control of about 80 percent of towns and villages in Quneitra province.[4] Two days later, the rebels managed to completely seize the Syrian side of the Golan. At the same time, the United Nations was forced to pull back hundreds of peacekeepers to Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan. According to the Syrian ambassador Bashar Jaafari, the rebels took over their bases, weapons and vehicles.[5]

On 18 September, rebels captured the Deir al-Adas area in Daraa province, east of Kafar Nasig, after the Army pulled back from it.[11]

On 23 September, rebels announced the start of the Battle of "Nasron Mena Allah wa Fathon Qarib", targeting two hills and two bases related to 90th Brigade. Their aim was the complete control over the Quneitra countryside and the siege of the towns of Khan Arnabah and al-Ba'th. At the same day, the IDF downed a Syrian fighter jet that had infiltrated into Israeli airspace.[29][38] The pilot died later that day,[27] while at least 16 rebels were killed around the village of Taranja in the northern Quneitra countryside.[26] The rebel attack failed and was ended shortly after.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Charles Lister: 5-9-2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Syrian planes attack Golan Heights border post captured by rebels
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Syrian Islamists seize Golan Heights border crossing
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Rebels seize most of Syrian side of Golan truce line". NOW. 13 September 2014. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/563568-rebels-seize-most-of-syrian-side-of-golan-truce-line. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Syrian rebels seize UN weapons on the Golan
  6. 6.0 6.1 Advancements for Al-Nusra Front and rebel battalions in countryside of Daraa and 4 martyrs in Bakrba
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Quneitra province: 6-9-2014 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "mashara" defined multiple times with different content
  8. 8.0 8.1 Al Qunaytera Province: 7-9-2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Daraa province: 10-9-2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Quneitra province: 12-09-2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Daraa province: 18-09-2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 قوات النظام تتقدم في ريف حماه وتتراجع في ريف القنيطرة
  13. 13.0 13.1 Syrian rebels break uneasy peace in Golan Heights
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Golan Heights peacekeeper crisis: Filipinos escape, Fijians taken hostage
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fijian peacekeepers in Syria freed
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Syria rebels reportedly advance near Golan Heights
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Muhammad Majid al-Khatib: A Rising Leader in the Free Syrian Army". Jamestown Foundation. 28 February 2014. http://mlm.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=42039&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=539&cHash=2bd9a9d0221d650cde1b043739bb7602#.U_qR-o1-_IU. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Massacre in Raqqah and heavy fighting in Quneitra
  19. Captured Russian spy facility reveals the extent of Russian aid to the Assad regime
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 MESOP NEWS ROUND UP SYRIA : REBELS VICTORY OF QUNEITRA OPENS PATH TO GHOUTA
  21. Syria forces ranged for major counteroffensive to dislodge rebels from Quneitra. High tension on Golan
  22. 22.0 22.1 Jabhat al-Nusra advances on Quneitra, gains border crossing
  23. 23.0 23.1 Quneitra province: 5-09-2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 More than 40 killed in the countryside of Quneitra
  25. 25.0 25.1 The martyrdom of 8 rebels in Quneitra countryside
  26. 26.0 26.1 Al Qunaytera Province: 24-09-2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 Al Qunaytera Province: 23-09-2014
  28. ضباط وجنود أسرى لدى جبهة النصرة يناشدون النظام لمبادلتهم
  29. 29.0 29.1 اسقاط طائرة سورية على الحدود بين الجولان المحرر والجولان المحتل
  30. More than 40 dead in clashes between Syrian army and rebels in Quneitra
  31. Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic battalions announce a new battle in al-Quneitra
  32. Israel warplanes strike the 90th brigade headquarters
  33. 50 rebel fighters killed in ambush by druze milita
  34. Breaking News in the Golan: Syrian Army Liberates Vital Village
  35. NEW MAP: Battles of #Qunaitra Province..
  36. Al Qunaytera Province: 9-9-2014
  37. About 70 % of the villages and towns in Quneitra under rebel control
  38. Israel shoots down Syrian fighter jet that ‘infiltrated’ airspace. 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2014-09-25.

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