On May 1, the Syrian Army began shelling the village of Umm Batnah, located east of the city of Quneitra, about 4 miles from the border with Israel. The Syrian Army shelling began following an attack on the nearby Tel Krum area. Tel Krum is known as an area where Syrian military forces are located along with forces from the radical Shiite axis led by Iran, including Hezbollah’s southern headquarters unit.
The identity of the attacking perpetrators is unknown. It is our assessment that there are two options: the first, ISIS operatives operating in the southern Syrian sector, increased their activity against the regime and forces affiliated with the regime, especially in the month of Ramadan. The second option points to local opposition forces, which still operate in southern Syria from time to time. A number of soldiers and members of the Shi’ite axis were apparently injured as a result of the attack.
The regime forces gave the residents of Umm Batnah an ultimatum to evacuate the village by 14:00 on the same day, otherwise, they would face an attack and invasion of ground forces. Many of the villagers abandoned their homes and fled to nearby communities. In the city of Deraa, anti-regime demonstrations erupted in support of the residents of Umm Batnah:
In light of the ongoing instability in southern Syria and in light of the repeated attacks on regime personnel and its allies, it appears that the Syrian regime and the radical Shi’ite axis have decided to take a new-old course of action: any village in the vicinity of an attack against the regime will “receive” a targeted military response. This response will be exhibited in the besieging of the village, the commencing of a bombardment and conveying the residents with an ultimatum to evacuate the village or to surrender the attackers. If these demands are not fulfilled, the village will suffer a ground invasion and literally be destroyed. This tactic was used to retake southern Syria in the summer of 2018.