Hezbollah and Iranian forces are advancing against al-Qaeda-backed rebel forces in southern Syria near the Golan Heights.
Hezbollah and Iranian forces, in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have been attempting to retake the region from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front forces, which took control of the area late last summer.
“The operations are being led by Hezbollah’s special forces,” said Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Associated Press reported. “Their aim appears to be to eventually reach areas bordering the occupied Golan and set up a border zone under Hezbollah’s control.”
According to the Abdulrahman, the operation began two days ago and aims to take control of rebel-held territory southwest of Damascus to Dera’a and Quneitra, which is near the Israeli Golan Heights.
Syria state media and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV network reported that their forces were able to seize the rebel stronghold of Deir al-Adas.
Last month, an Israeli airstrike in the same region killed six Hezbollah operatives and six Iranians, including Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh and Iranian general Mohammad Ali Allahdadi.