Syrian rebels declared their control over the city of Nawa in the western countryside of Daraa — 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Damascus and only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the border with Israel — on Nov. 9, after battles began Nov. 1 against the regime’s forces in the region. The fighting ended with the “liberation” of areas formerly controlled by the Syrian army, taken during the “Demolition of the Wall,” a rebel operation that brought down the army’s first line of defense of the capital against attack from the south.

Rebel fighters were able to break the regime siege of the town of al-Shaykh Maskin, near Daraa, on Nov. 6. They penetrated the town through battles that led to the fall of Brigade 82, one of the Syrian army’s largest military bases. Rebels then broke into the town and opened the road between al-Shaykh Maskin and the city of Nawa on Nov. 6. This was how rebel fighters were able to cut the supply routes of the Syrian army and lay siege to its positions, which accelerated their total control over the area.

The fall of the area to the rebels closed the door on the Syrian army in the northern triangle of the Hauran plain, which includes the city of Nawa, al-Shaykh Maskin and Sheikh Saad, which fell to the rebels on July 15. This triangle constituted a military safe zone for the Syrian army in the south and the center from which to launch operations in the region. […]