The US-led coalition and Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups operating in the al-Tanaf area, near the Syrian-Iraqi border are preparing to launch a military operation against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in eastern Syria, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi reported on March 18.
Mohanad al-Talaa Commander of the US-backed Revolutionary Commando Army deployed in al-Tanaf confirmed to Enab Baladi that they are currently preparing for a military operation. However, al-Talaa declined to provide more information about their target.
Syrian opposition activists speculated that the US-led coalition and the FSA will try to capture the SAA-held parts of the Syrian-Iraqi border. The coalition forces maybe even try to reach the besieged Eastern Qalamun region north of the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Earlier today, the FSA in the Eastern Qalamun region launched an attack against the SAA near the al-Sin airbase and shot down a warplane of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF).
Meanwhile, Kurdish activists reported that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are massing their forces on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. The sources added that the US-led coalition and the SDF may also launch an attack on SAA positions in Deir Ezzor governorate.
The Hammurabi’s Justice News, that’s well-known for its links to the US-led coalition, claimed on March 17 that the SAA had shelled units of the US-led coalition around al-Tanaf. Observers believe that these claims might be used as a pretext to launch the supposed attack.
Several Syrian pro-government experts believe that the threat of US-led offensive against the SAA is real. On March 8, the SAA expanded its security zone around the town of al-Qaryatayn in southern Homs and the regions of East Qalamun and East Ghouta in Damascus governorate to 80km. This indicates that the Damascus government and its allies are also taking this threat seriously.
If the US-led coalition launches such a military operation, the SAA and its allies will be forced to respond immediately on all fronts.