DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:00 A.M.) – Following the 2nd stage of the ‘Big Dawn’ offensive in southern Syria, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) received a large batch of Hezbollah reinforcements in the eastern countryside of Sweida on Wednesday afternoon.

The Hezbollah convoy consisted exclusively of its Syrian branch, comprised of soldiers from the two Shiite towns of Nubl and Al-Zahraa in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo. Syrian volunteers from Kafraya and Al-Fuah, two Shiite towns neighboring Idlib city, were also part of the convoy according to a military source speaking to Al-Masdar News.

In effect, the SAA will have a strong ally in the Syrian Hezbollah branch which will help government troops drive US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions out of their territories in the desert of Sweida and Rif Dimashq on the border with Jordan.

 Due to a large-scale pincer offensive on Wednesday, the SAA is but a few kilometers from creating a massive rebel pocket in the region. Thus, FSA fighters have a last chance to retreat towards the Al-Tanf border crossing or they will face encirclement and certain death or capture subsequently. A map showing the current situation can be found here.

On the other hand, the FSA’s Osoud Al-Sharqiya released a short video on Wednesday showing its fighters shelling the advancing SAA and Hezbollah troops from afar

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Amid reports of new Hezbollah offensive, 300 Syrian refugees in Lebanon return to Syria – Pictures

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – A convoy of 300 Syrian refugees, consisting of sixty families, have left Arsal in Lebanon and are now returning to their homes in Asal al-Ward in Syria’s western Qalamoun region.

The Syrian refugees are being escorted by well-armed Lebanese military authorities who, once reaching the border, will then hand over responsibility of the returning nationals to Syrian forces.

This comes amid reports that Hezbollah is preparing to carry out a new military operation against the Lebanese-chapter of the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group in Arsal’s countryside.

Sources suggest that Hezbollah plans to completely expel HTS from Lebanese territory, after which, it will then pressure the jihadist group’s remaining forces in western Qalamoun (in Syria) to either reconcile with the Damascus government or to allow themselves to be transported to Idlib Governonate.