REBELS WITH A CAUSE: Fighters from Ahrar a-Sham declare the launch of a battle for the Damascus-Swayda highway. The move is a risky one that could potentially alienate the south’s Druze majority. Rebels have already cut off the road between Damascus and Daraa by occupying a section of it at Kherbat Ghazaleh, but failed to capture Daraa. If the rebels are effective, they would cut off the road with Suwadya, thereby isolating most of the south from the capital.
Suwayda is a Druze majority city that has been relatively calm since the beginning of the Syrian war. The Druze population has been divided between supporters of the regime and the opposition. Changing the military balance in the south could motivate the Druze majority to take a side.
“We, in the brigades and battalions in the southern area, Hattin Bridage, Ahrar a-Sham Islamic Movement, Liberation Army Brigade, Ansar al-Hak Battalion of Dera al-Asimat, declare the Damascus-Suwayda road a military zone, beginning Tuesday 5-7-2013.” Video courtesy of Abo Baher Golani.