Far from Switzerland, FSA in Daraa announces “Geneva of Houran” campaign


February 2, 2014

NO DIPLOMACY IN DARAA: The Free Syrian Army’s joint military command in the southern province of Daraa on Saturday announced the start of a military campaign dubbed “The Geneva of Houran.” FSA officers declared that the campaign was in response to the Syrian government’s refusal to embrace serious dialogue with the opposition, and that the battle will “include all active formations on the ground in Houran.”

“The Assad regime does not understand the language of politics or dialogue,” said the unnamed FSA officer reading the statement, alluding to rebel frustration with the Geneva II peace talks, whose first round ended Friday with little in the way of tangible results.

The offensive’s title refers to the Houran plateau, a geographic area in southwestern Syria that stretches along the border with Jordan and encompasses the whole of Daraa province.

Clashes broke out Sunday between FSA and regime forces in Daraa village of Atmaan, and FSA fighters targeted regime headquarters in the al-Haal vegetable market, according to Local Coordination Committees. Meanwhile, pro-regime television reported Friday that “terrorists” had begun shelling residential areas inside the city of Daraa.

The FSA’s announcement and the campaign’s sardonic title underscore the disconnect between the diplomatic maneuverings in Geneva and even the most moderate armed groups waging war inside Syria. Two weeks after the FSA’s top General, Salim Idriss, endorsed the talks, FSA officers in Daraa are emphasizing the widely-held view that the Syrian war will not be won around a negotiating table in Switzerland, but on the battlefield in Syria.

Video courtesy of Daraa local committees.

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