Well-informed French sources declared that thousands of Arab and foreign fighters are in Homs and its surrounding territories, as well as in Al-Qusayr and the nearby villages, especially those to the west of Al-Assi River.
The previously mentioned sources quoted French security sources as saying that almost all of those fighters entered Syria through Lebanon, some of which came through Beirut International Airport, while others came through the Mediterranean upon ships that docked off the port of Tripoli whose passengers, the foreign fighters, came to the Lebanese land on-board small boats.
The same sources stated that the armed groups in Al-Qusayr and its nearby villages are around twelve thousand fighters from different countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Algeria, Palestine, and Lebanon), besides the armed Syrian fighters who are fighting against the regime. The French sources mentioned that the majority of the Lebanese fighters come from Irsal, Sidon, and Tripoli. As for the foreigners, they spread through the villages to the west of Al-Assi River taking advantage of the environment which is full of trees; those villages are Saqarja, Abou Houri, Al-Nahriya, Al-Azaniya, Al-Burhaniya, and Ain Al-Tannour. The latter is the center of gravity of those fighters because the Syrian Army exclude it from shelling for it contains the reservoir of drinking water for Homs and Hamah from the Al-Assi River. The army avoids bombing the village not to hit this reservoir and consequently cut off water from both Homs and Hamah.
Most of Al-Qusayr is under total control of the insurgents, and the majority of them are Syrians, the French sources stated. However, the Syrian Army controls the building of the directorate to the east of the city and close to the borders with Homs, in addition to the villages along the international road between Homs and the Lebanese borders in Al-Qa’a. In this wide area, armed groups are well-equipped with rocket launchers, heavy-caliber cannons, anti-aircraft weapons, ammunition, and automatic rifles. They also built fortifications, passageways, and barricades, and they immediately bury their homicidal.
According to the same sources, the Syrian army controls most of the quarters in Homs while the armed groups control a part of the overpopulated Al-Khalediya Quarter, near the Al-Qosour Quarter which is geographically outside Homs. The Syrian army intended to control the latter quarter, and is performing combing operations in the area. It is also continuing to cordon off Al-Khalediya Quarter where fighters were shifting between the two quarters either for withdrawal or storage. The army is tightening the grip over the area where armed groups are hiding by which almost all the quarters are under its control. As for the armed groups, they are fortified in a 1 squared Kilometer piece of land.
500 armed fighters are in this area while the majority of the fighters are in Bustan Al-Diwan Quarter in Al-Hamidiya neighborhood. They caused Christian populations to immigrate from their hometown, and established a field court in Beit Al-Agha, the majestic historic landmark in Homs. The situation in Jouret Al-Shayah, very close to the city’s commercial center, is more likely in favor of the regime, which is, seemingly, about to end the battles with significant military success during the last days in which hundreds of fighters were killed.
The Regime’s Strategy
French sources stated that the Syrian regime is applying the anti-insurgency war or confronting guerrillas plan which allows it to control the strategic facilities, Homs-Levant highway, Homs-Aleppo highway, military and civil airports, public facilities, electricity stations, oil refinery in Homs, military bases such as the Al-Dhab’a Airport in Al-Qusayr valley, Al-Baath University in Homs, and all the governmental institutions in the city. The army seeks decreasing its losses and not exhausting it throughout avoiding presence in the small rural villages where fighters are located. The Syrian army follows the method of bombarding on a daily basis, but seems tending to finalize its operations in the summer.
What is the military solution?
As the source mentioned, the situation in Homs is in the regime’s favor. However, the regime must use its ground forces in Al-Qusayr to terminate the battles in this flat land where trees are spread all over the area. It also has to increase the number of its helicopters, and after the battle of Homs ends, the army can send its special forces to Al-Qusayr. The regime wishes to end the battles in the summer, before the American presidential elections in November because Obama, the busy man about being reelected, prefers not to have foreign troubles. This is what he said to the Europeans concerning the Iranian nuclear program, and was asserted on by a French diplomat in front of Arab journalists in a closed meeting in the French Foreign Ministry on the Iranian issue. “France won’t be the diplomatic spearhead against Iran, because President Hollande doesn’t want to annoy Obama in the climax of his electoral campaign,” the man said. It is self-evident that what is applied on Iran is also applied on Syria since the NATO didn’t react against shooting down the Turkish jet in the Syrian regional waters along with the Turkish borders.
Translated by Zeinab Abdallah