8 October 2013: Two or more brigades of Bashar al-Assad's armored divisions were detected moving south from Damascus to assembly areas anticipated to be along the M5 highway. Another armored force appears poised on Highway 7 opposite al-Quneitra. The first battle was engaged at rebel-held Khan Ar-Nabeh, a town 2 miles from the Golan Heights 1974 cease-fire "Line Alpha" of disengagement and no-man's land, and 4 miles from the main highway interchange before al-Quneitra. Not much will remain of Khan Ar-Nabeh after this battle, the southern edge of which lies on the 1974 cease-fire "Line Bravo."
The objective of the Syrian force appears to be to sever the rebels from their Jordanian supply corridors through Dara'a and from medical treatment of its wounded across the Golan in Israel. This maneuver will present the Syrian army with a "kill box" from the Jordanian border to the mountainous Lebanese frontier in which rebel forces will be trapped and exterminated. Once the maneuvering is completed, and short of any significant foreign intervention, the Syrian force appears likely to achieve this objective and be in a position to deal far more effectively with the newly created Liwa al-Islam put together by Saudi Arabia.
2 October 2013: The war in Syria has finally morphed into the full-blown international war most had hoped would not take shape in the wake of recent U.S. threats of direct intervention and the Russian Federation's military and diplomatic countermeasures against it.