Syria Deeply interviews Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on recent military assaults by the Syrian army against rebel forces:
Syria Deeply: Is the offensive pegged to increased inter-rebel tensions, or are there other factors behind it?
Faysal Itani: I’m not sure that’s the reason for the timing. What the government seems to be doing is concentrating on Nawa, a rebel-held town that connects Quneitra and Deraa: these are two areas where the rebels have had some successes, and there’s an area [between] that links them. I haven’t seen an all-out ground assault, but the government is certainly hitting them.
I don’t know if it’s taking advantage of infighting. The tensions haven’t blown up into an outright confrontation, and I don’t think it takes precedence against regime efforts in the south which have been quite successful and which they’ve touted to their constituents as part of “the promise” of winning the war.
I think it’s driven by military necessity: the proximity of this geography to Damascus, and the fact that it could emerge as a platform for the rebels to carry out a concerted effort [in attacks on Damascus and a push further into the south] with the help of the Saudis and Qataris. So it’s driven by strategic necessity.