Fierce fighting between Syrian government forces and armed opposition groups has continued in the Quneitra province of the country’s southwest as locals report a massive build-up of troops and pro-government militias in several towns. Opposition groups retook Quneitra after the Syrian army briefly controlled it on Saturday, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The escalation of clashes comes just days after the Syrian government launched a major offensive in the Quneitra province, situated on the border of the roughly 70 percent of the Golan Heights under Israeli occupation since 1967. Modar Shanwan, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Command Council in Quneitra and the Golan, a coalition of armed opposition groups, said that government forces “breached [the Quneitra province] down the middle” and were “supported by militias” and artillery bombardments. FULL REPORT