Of Masters and Their Slaves

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." ―Ayn Rand

Friday, March 21, 2014

Syrian Rebels Cuttoff Strategic Highway Linking Damascus to Iraq

The Islamic Front-Army of Islam Captures Rest Station on Highway 2

Hezbollah Watch
Hezbollah Watch
By Hezbollah Watch

After their successes in the Adra and Dumayr areas of Damascus Province earlier last week, the Syrian rebels seized the initiative, advanced eastward, and captured the strategically-based al-Safa Rest Station on Abu al-Shamat Highway (HWY 2) on Friday.

Al-Safa is a road-side hamlet located in al-Qutayfah District, 84 km to the north-east of Damascus, and 188 km south-east of the Iraqi borders, through HWY 2. By controlling the rest station, the Syrian rebels sought to prevent or delay the land movement of pro-Assad regime Shiite militiamen and war supplies from Iraq to Damascus.

From al-Dumayr to Al-Safa Resting Station:
39km on Syria Highway 2, heading east

The rebels who captured al-Safa, the Islamic Front (IF), are a politically-moderate Salafi faction with no ties to al-Qaeda terror group. IF is backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

Istirahat al-Safa: Al-Safa Rest Station on Syria HWY 2,
a.k.a. Abu al-Shamat Highway

The assault on al-Safa came as a part of IF's wa a'eddou military campaign. Wa a'eddou is Arabic for "and prepare," which is a part of a Quranic Sign (Quran 8:60) that calls upon Muslims to strengthen and equip themselves with the proper weaponry to meet their enemies in combat.

Al-Sada Rest Station is located in Al-Qutayfah District,
Damascus Province, Syria

Aside from its importance as a key point on the road linking Baghdad and Damascus, al-Safa is also described by the pro-Syrian rebels media as a stronghold of the Assadist forces.

The mullah Zahran Alloush giving a sermon

Prior to the assault on al-Safa, the Sunni mullah Zahran Alloush addressed the IF fighters and gave a sermon. Alloush told the assembled soldiers, "God is with us if we are with God," and called upon them to make both their lives and deaths for God.

The rebel's Tank

During the assault on al-Safa, an IF Russian-made T-72 could be seen moving along desert terrain to approach its target from the rear. Somehow, the rebels managed to reach the rest station undetected and unopposed.

Storming al-Safa

Another video released by the rebels (see right above) shows the aftermath of two attacks on Assad regime vehicles by IF fighters. One of the destroyed vehicles is a technical fitted with, according to the cameraman, a "Dushka" (but its more likely a KPVT 14.5 mm large-calibre machine gun).

The other vehicle is a fast-travelling KIA sedan, which received gunfire until it came to a dramatic halt and its occupant  -- a uniformed and armed combatant -- neutralized.

The cameraman speculated that the fighter in the KIA is a member of Assad's Presidential Guard.

The sectarian nature of the war was quite evident from the expressions uttered by the cameramen (it seems that the video is the compilation of footage captured by more than one cameraman):
[0:57]: "The Mujahedeen of the Army of Islam-The Islamic Front are storming the Safa Rest Area and cutting off the Damascus-Baghdad road, the vital road for the regime, which receives aid through it from the Shiites of Iraq."
[3:28]: "By God, we shall take revenge upon the Nusayris for every Muslim brother."
[4:15]: "Destroying two vehicles for the Nusayri army."
Afterwards, the camera team shows low-flying Russian-made Assad regime jets unleashing their rockets on rebel positions with impunity. Indeed, the rebels still lack effective countermeasure to the Assad air force.

It is unknown whether the rebels can hold on to al-Safa -- a location in the middle of nowhere. As to the Assad Iraqi supply line, it is not necessarily totally cutoff. Alternative but much longer routes are still under the control of the Syrian regime.

In the meantime, the rebels are still powerful and kicking. If anything, the capture of al-Safa shows just that!

Hezbollah Watch® blogs at The Islamic Counterterrorism Institute and at hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com. Hezbollah Watch® tweets at @hezbollahwatch. Find Hezbollah Watch® on Google+.

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