According to what has been promoted by the Assad regime, the recapturing of wide parts Daraa and Quneitra by the army and its allied militias does not mean that the situation will revert to how it was before the eruption of the Syrian revolution in 2011. With the start of military deployments in the towns and cities of the south, the outlines of a new war have become clear. It is a war between various formations and their clashing ideologies, loyalties and international cover.
No more than a few days had passed between the recapture of most of southern Syria and the outbreak of divisions between the regime and its militias, which have now come to resemble a cold war between the factions.
In the northwestern Daraa countryside, sources told Alsouria Net that the two towns of Ankhal and Jassim had over the past few days seen a race between the Al-Namr forces, which are deployed in the hills surrounding Ankhal, and the Fourth Division, which are deployed in a number of government buildings inside the town of Jassim and Ankhal as well as on their outskirts, to conscript members of rebel groups.
The sources said that the Al-Namr forces have made proposals to a number of rebel groups that accepted reconciliations and settlements with regime forces and that these proposals include supplying the groups with guns and ammunition and offering logistical and financial support in exchange for their loyalty to the Al-Namr forces and for these areas to remain within those forces’ influence.
The sources said that General Salih al-Abd Allah, an officer close to Suhail al-Hassan, was the one making these proposals and following up on them with a number of officers. He is also giving guarantees and incentives to all those who join them, including giving them high levels of authority in the areas in which they are present, including over regime military and security institutions.
Sources also said that the Fourth Division was making efforts to include highly popular rebel groups in the northwestern Daraa and Quneitra areas by offering them money and military equipment, with the aim of weakening the control of the Al-Namr forces, which are trying to establish a military organization independent of the regime forces, according to the sources who quoted discussions among Fourth Division officers as well as a rebel group commander in the area.
The Hezbollah militia is the other group trying to impose and expand its zone of influence in the southern area, which its commanders consider to have geo-strategic dimensions for its Iran-backed project.
Field commanders from Hezbollah over the last three days have met with notables and religious figures active in the eastern area of Daraa through intermediaries from the province, with the aim of conscripting young men into its ranks under the title of the “Syrian Resistance,” which would reproduce Hezbollah’s experience in southern Lebanon — but this time through residents of the south itself.
According to the source, Hezbollah commanders have asked for the conscription of young men into the so-called “Syrian Resistance,” in exchange for financial and logistical support, and later giving these groups many benefits in Syria and Lebanon, and securing homes for them and their families and monthly salaries of 300 dollars.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.