|Part of the Syrian civil war|
Syrian Arab Army|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani||Unknown|
|Casualties and losses|
The Al-Otaiba ambush was a successful military operation conducted on 26 February 2014 by the Syrian Arab Army against al-Nusra militants.
The SAA operation began two weeks ago, when Syrian Military Intelligence Directorate intercepted communications between Jabhat al-Nusra officers in Jordan and the Qalamoun Mountains. Jabhat al-Nusra’s commander, Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani, planned for a contingent of over 250 men to travel from the Qalamoun Mountains to the Jordanian city of Al-Mafraq. The plan was to travel during nightfall to avoid being spotted by the enemy combatants and to avoid any congestion on the roads. After intercepting this correspondence, the SAA began to fortify the area and plant mines along the perimeter of the town and Al-Utayba Lake.
At approximately 12:00 A.M., the insurgents from Jabhat al-Nusra and Jabhat al-Islam (Islamic Batalion) began moving towards the Jordanian border. Unaware of the ambush set up, the convoy of vehicles halted before entering the East Ghouta. This was due to orders passed down from Al-Joulani that required the men to move on foot.
Around 2:45 A.M., the insurgents arrived in Al-Utayba. All that was left to do was to cross a desolate plot of land and enter safely into Jordan. The militants, unaware they just entered a hundred yard minefield, began to pick up the pace towards the border. This is when the mines began to explode creating chaos between militant lines. Remaining militants attempted to flee the minefield, but the darkness made it difficult to avoid the mines. Once it became quiet, the SAA began to fire mortar shells at the insurgents, to finish of survivors. Most of the rebels have been reported to be Saudi, Qatari, and Chechen nationals.
A video reveals a recording of the actual detonation of the ambush, which was carried out in two waves. The first of which caused the brunt of the casualties.
Lebanese Hezbollah's al-Manar TV station reported that the fighters were trying to break out of Eastern Ghouta to join battles in either the town of Deraa or the Qalamoun mountains. The militant group Jaish al-Islam claimed the dead were civilians, trying to escape a siege, and said it had not lost any fighters.
- "175 rebels killed near Damascus, Syrian government says - Finance News - London South East". Lse.co.uk. http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=08kqrc0q&headline=175_rebels_killed_near_Damascus_Syrian_government_says. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- Syrian Army Conducts A Massive Operation Near The Jordanian Border
- Kalin, Stephen. "Pro-Assad forces kill 175 rebels in ambush: Syrian state media". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-syria-crisis-ambush-idUSBREA1P0TP20140226. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Major Ambush by Syrian Army Eliminates Over 175 Wahhabi Terrorists in Eastern Ghouta". YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViusZthiSmw. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "BBC News - Syrian forces 'kill many rebels' in Eastern Ghouta". Bbc.com. 1970-01-01. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26356464. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
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