June 16, SouthFront:
On June 16, leader of the US-backed Alwiya al-Furqan Free Syrian Army (FSA) group Mohammed Majid al-Khatib said on his Telegram channel that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies may launch their long awaited military operation in southern Syria in the upcoming hours.
Al-Khatib claimed that Russia, the UK and the U.S. ailed to reach an agreement on southern Syria during a recent meeting. The commander didn’t reveal his sources, but the U.S. Military Operations Center (MOC) in Jordan usually provides the FSA with such important information.
Two days earlier, the U.S. Department of State warned that the U.S will take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to any attack of the SAA on the “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria.
Hours after U.S. threats, Syria’s Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayyoub visited SAA troops in the southern governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra and inspected their readiness, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). [Pundita note: See official SAA photo at SouthFront of Ayyoub speaking with troops]
Despite this high tension the SAA and its allies will not likely launch their attack in southern Syria during the Eid al-Fitr holiday [it ends on June 17] in order to avoid criticism in the society.
[END REPORT]Here's Colonel Pat Lang's June 16 analysis for Sic Semper Tyrannis of what's ahead for the southern offensive:
It seems evident that the SAA will clean up the rebel held area in Sweida east of the M-5 highway. When that is done they will line up north of Daraa City facing the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. The deployment should be 20 miles or so wide.
They will then attack toward the Heights to clear rebels from SW Syria. This will be "all in," an attack with "horse, foot and guns" as they said in olden times. IMO they will make good progress since most of the really hard asses in the SAA have been assembled for the task.
DJT [President Trump] will then hear the siren song of his family, the Zionist lobby, Bibi's government and various cats and dogs insisting that US Air be committed against this "threat against Israel."
The nuttier people in Israel have been trying to claim that the attacking force will have in it a lot of Iranians and Hizbullahis in SAA uniform. That suggestion fell apart when the IDF G-2 himself stated that it was untrue. Even Liberman the Mad [Israel's defense minister] has admitted it is not true. How inconvenient. Well, the White Helmets will probably come forward to say that the IDF was mistaken.
DJT is making peacemaker noises. By his actions we will judge him. pl
[END]I think Trump will go along with what the Saudis tell him to do in Syria. If they're deciding to fold their cards, SAA operations should proceed in the manner the Colonel outlined.