GO SOUTH: IS-affiliated news outlets published photos on Tuesday, including the one above, confirming the Islamic State’s capture of parts of the desert region populated by Bedouins that is administratively part of Outer Damascus province.
The pictures appear to confirm reports that have circulated in recent weeks of the Islamic State attacking, and then taking control of, the rebel-held area of Bir al-Qasb near the Outer Damascus-Suwayda border in southern Syria.
The vanquished rebels in Bir al-Qasb were part of Jaish al-Islam, which controlled the area, reported Al-Monitor on December 9.
Bir al-Qasb is considered the gateway into Daraa province, wrote Al-Monitor’s Abdullah Suleiman Ali, adding that “it is no longer a secret that IS intends to enter Daraa.”
The IS presence in the Bir al-Qasb area poses a threat to more than just Daraa province—IS has also positioned itself close to pro-regime Druze villages in the province of Suwayda, where civilians fear a possible attack, reported Hezbollah news outlet Al-Manar on December 2.
For now, IS appears to be busy fighting Free Syrian Army forces remaining in Bir al-Qasb. IS-affiliated Twitter accounts published photos of fighters firing mortars and heavy machine guns Wednesday with the caption “Mujahideen of the Caliphate state strike apostates in the Bir al-Qasb area.”
-December 10, 2014
-Photo courtesy of @fadidahouk.
For more from Syria Direct, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.