On May 16, helicopters of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) drooped thousands of leaflets over the Lajat region in the northeastern Daraa countryside, in which it called on militants to surrender their weapons and to join the reconciliation process, according to the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi. Such leaflets are usually dropped by SyAAF as a warning ahead of military operations.
An officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) told SouthFront on May 17 that SAA units around Damascus are indeed preparing for a possible military operation in the governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra. According to the officer, the supposed operation will likely begin once the ISIS pocket in southern Damascus is eliminated.
According to local observers, the Lajat region will likely be the first target of the SAA as its poses a serious threat to the al-Suwayda-Damascus highway, the Daraa-Damascus highway and the Khalkhalah airbase. Last week, militants of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) launched an attack from Lajat and killed seven officers of the SAA on the al-Suwayda-Damascus highway.
Russia and the US imposed a ceasefire over the governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra in July of 2017. However, Syrian pro-government activists said that the ceasefire was limited to six months only, which means that the SAA and its allies are now, once again, free to operate in southern Syria.