Opposition factions in southern Syria have begun to unite under the single banner of the “National Army for the Liberation of Syria” in a move they hope will encourage regional parties to control the security breakdown in the south and restore life to normal.
The truce in southern Syria created by the cease-fire agreement has led to an environment enabling the unification of southern Syria’s factions.
Rebel leaders said that the step of integration had begun to be implemented by a number of factions, while other groups were on the way to being integrated later. At the time of writing only 11 southern factions from among 57 support the movement.
International negotiations surrounding the military situation are approaching on this area, which has witnessed a truce since July 9. The move to unite rebel forces comes out of the fear that factions would witness defections to unpredictable ideological branches.
Yet some rebel officials claim they have not been approached about the integration, which was confirmed by the commander in the Lions of Sunna Brigade, Abou Omar al-Zaghloul.
Military coordinator in the Free Syrian Army Abou Tawfiq al-Deiri said that “the National Army for the Liberation of Syria will not be an alternative to the Free Syrian Army, but a collection of formations within the groups present under the roof of the Southern Front.”
“The future situation for southern Syria demands more unity and coordination between the factions with the aim of getting a larger number involved in decision making in the south,” he said, adding that groups have begun to form a police force.
He explained that the Free Syrian Army were liberation forces, while security for the cities and villages would be under the supervision of the police and local councils.
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.