By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
After launcing a coordinated attack on the town of Nawa, the Free Syrian Army and some elements of Jabhat al Nusra are now in control of the city of Nawa and its vicinity. The attack apparently took the Pro-Assadist forces by suprise, as almost all fled, leaving their heavy weaponry behind. Following the capture of Nawa, the town was immediately bombed by the SyAAF.
Nawa was one of three keypoints in a defensive line South of Damascus. Tasked with protecting the Southern belly of Syria's capital, it has now crumbled with the capture of this key town. Although Nawa was already once captured by rebel groups in early 2014, the town was recaptured after a fierce regime offensive in May.
The recapturing of the town may lead to a review of how to handle the Free Syrian Army's advance in the South. What's certain; another regime offensive as seen in February 2014 will require lots of manpower, equipment and fuel, all practically unavailable.
The capture of Nawa also strengthens the firepower of the rebel groups (most united under the banner of the Free Syrian Army) in the South. Heavy weaponry and associated munitions can now be used to push further in the direction of Damascus, or other key objectives in the region. The weaponry captured once equipped one Tank Battalion, two Artillery Battalions, at least two Infantry Battalions and one or two Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalions, all part of Brigade 112.
Much of the weaponry and muntions can be seen here.
As most of the weaponry was immediately moved away, the Free Syrian Arms seems eager to use the equipment against its former owners as fast as possible.