The forces of the Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its allied militias continued for a fourth day in a row their campaign of raids accompanied by widespread arrests in the city of Lajat in the northeastern Daraa countryside in southern Syria.
Regime forces raided the city after it entered into a “reconciliation” deal with opposition forces. Alsouria Net’s correspondent in southern Syria said that on Monday, the “Al-Nimr” forces under General Suhail Hassan, participated in raids of the villages and towns of al-Shoumara, Jadal, and al-Shiyah in Lajat.
He said that regime forces attacked women, stole gold and looted the homes of many civilians, in a clear breach of the agreement which Russia oversaw.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that a mood of discontent prevailed in Daraa province in the northeastern sector of its countryside specifically as a result of the ongoing raids.
The Observatory said that the discontent was escalating in the wake of armed regime loyalists abusing civilians, beating and insulting them, as well as striking and insulting female residents, and searching them for money and jewelry.
The Alsouria Net correspondent said that one of the justifications the regime forces used to raid Lajat was that they were “searching for members of the Islamic State organization” although, according to the city’s residents the area was devoid of the extremists.
On Saturday, regime forces arrested 80 people from the eastern Daraa countryside after entering the area, in accordance with the reconciliation agreement. The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that regime forces arrested civilians during the raids in the Lajat area. It added that those arrested were taken to an unknown location.
In the Yarmouk basin, the Syrian Observatory quoted residents as saying that “regime forces and armed loyalists strip searched female residents,” as they put it.
The Observatory added that “female citizens accused regime forces and their allies of searching for money and jewelry and that they resorted to strip searching the women while evicting them from the Yarmouk basin in order to confirm they were not smuggling out money. This caused resentment to the incident.”
Daraa is not the only place where a reconciliation deal and the entrance of the regime army and it militia allies has lead to a campaign of civilian arrests, whether with the aim of forcible conscription, or because they are wanted by the security services.
Regime forces have also continued to implement arrests in eastern Ghouta in the Damascus countryside in order to forcibly press young men into the regime’s ranks. It leads those arrested to military centers for training in preparation to send them to the front lines.
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.