Russia cuts monthly salaries for fighters of former opposition faction leader Ahmed al-Awda after he refused to install military posts in Syria’s Badia region.
Moscow has been supporting the Awda forces in the Badia battles against the Islamic State (ISIS) for nearly two months. Russian forces withdrew from the battles after being ambushed which led to dozens of fatalities.
“Salaries have not been paid to the fighters for nearly a month,” the sources told Al-Souria Net on Monday.
The sources added that there are about 2,000 Awda fighters, each of whom receives 200 dollars per month.
According to the sources, who asked not to be named, the withdrawal of financial payments is linked to Awda’s leader’s refusal to install military posts in the eastern countryside of Homs. These posts would have been used to fight ISIS.
The Awda’s cells are located in the sprawling Syrian Badia region, which extends from the eastern countryside of Homs to the border with Iraq, where it meets Iraq’s Western desert.
The group has hidden in the desert since it was driven out of Deir-ez-Zor, Mayadeen, and al-Bukamal areas in late 2017. This came after Bashar al-Assad’s forces took control of areas west of the Euphrates, called al-Shamia.
The Awda forces are part of the Russian-backed Fifth Corps’s Eighth Brigade.
Ahmed al-Awda is one of the most prominent former Free Syrian Army leaders in southern Syria. He entered into the 2018 settlement agreement, allowing him to stay in his home city of Busra al-Sham.
Located in the eastern countryside of Daraa, Busra al-Sham is the most prominent stronghold in which Ahmed al-Awda is active, along with the military forces still under his authority. These fighters, known as the Eighth Brigade, have received support from Russia over the past two years as part of the [Russia-backed] Fifth Corps.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.