An unknown fate is pursuing the groups of the Southern Front after a decision taken by the Jordan-based Military Operations Center to dissolve the alliance and to restructure the Daraa and Quneitra divisions into four factions, according to Enab Baladi’s sources.
The story of the halting of support for the groups is preoccupying public opinion in Daraa and southern Syria, as commanders in the Free Syrian Army say that the matter was still ambiguous on Saturday, July 29, but was expected to become clearer at the start of August.
Matters have become more complicated with 10 factions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Daraa announcing their merger into the National Front for the Liberation of Syria, which was formed about a week ago with 11 southern factions. Military sources told Enab Baladi that the factions do not have weight on the ground, and described the new formation as “delusional.”
MOC releases its hold on the Southern Front
Two separate military sources in the Southern Front, which was established at the end of 2014 from around 54 FSA factions, said that the proposals to restructure the Front would begin implementation, despite comments by Essam al-Rees, the Front’s official spokesman, who told Enab Baladi that, “There is none of this, and the situation is as it was before.”
The first source said that the decision would halt work under the name the “Southern Front,” and that the new structure might not be given a name but that it would include the dissolution of all factions and their reorganization by merging them into four groups.
Regarding the geographical distribution of the four groups, the source said that two factions were in the eastern Daraa countryside, one was in the western countryside, and the fourth was in Quneitra province, while the fate of the groups inside the city of Daraa was still unknown.
The second military source said that proposals to restructure the Front existed and said that their implementation would begin, although there were no procedures on the ground yet. He said that the structure “means reorganizing the Front with joint leadership, political representation and a media office.”
Restricting attempts are not new
The first reports announcing the possible restructuring of the Front appeared in April last year when the Al-Hassam Brigade was formed after merging the Fajr al-Tawheed Brigade, the Amoud Houran Brigade, and the Freedom Martyrs Brigade.
At the time, Enab Baladi learned that the MOC was working to restructure the Southern Front by fusing the factions and groups into four units, but that the plan was never completed.
The new step to dissolve the Front follows a recent meeting of MOC officials with some FSA commanders in Daraa in the Jordanian capital Amman on July 17.
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.