FSA claims battalion capture, brings rebels closer to Jordan border
October 10, 2013
By Syria Direct staff
October 10, 2013
AMMAN: After more than two months of fighting for the Syrian army’s al-Hajjaneh battalion, the Free Syrian Army is claiming it has captured the site, bringing the rebels even closer to Syrian regime-controlled border crossings with Jordan.
The 865th Infantry Battalion, also known as the al-Hajjaneh (Defenders of the Border) Battalion, is a key government installation in Daraa province, about 4km from the border with Jordan.
The base’s importance lies in “its proximity to the liberated customs area of Daraa,” said opposition activist Nayef al-Sari, the head of the Daraa Media Office, which has 40 citizen journalists across the province. The battalion “is one of the most important headquarters for regime forces, as it sits along the western side of the border with Jordan,” he added.
Several FSA brigades, including Liwa Tawhid al-Janoub, Liwa Faluja Houran, Liwa al Yarmouk and Liwa al-Mohajreen, broke in and captured the base using heavy machine guns and mortar shells to capture the base, al-Sari said. The Syrian Observatory reported clashes around al-Hajjaneh this week.
“Now that the rebels have gained this site, it will allow them to open the road between the province’s eastern region and Daraa city,” said Abu Aous, a 23-year-old citizen journalist from Daraa.
Wednesday’s FSA advance contradicts reports in pro-Assad outlets the reporting that Syrian army units made advances in Daraa. “Following advances by the Syrian army in Daraa, the army is now in full control over the battlefield conditions and tens of the rebels’ bases have been destroyed,” a Syrian army source told Iranian state news agency FARS.
Last month, a United Nations humanitarian mission to Daraa province documented 72,000 displaced families, with many squatting in shelters, schools and other public buildings. Throughout September, activists and aid workers reported thousands of displaced Syrians stuck in the province, unable to cross into Jordan.