Recent days have seen the return of the anti-regime movement to the Daraa governorate. This development coincides with the 11th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution, in Daraa.
In addition to the demonstrations in Daraa, which covered large parts of the countryside, four attacks targeting regime forces were recorded. This resulted in the killing and injury of more than a dozen members, including officers.
Opposition sources revealed to al-Modon that there is a U.S. plan to revive support and cooperation with armed opposition forces in southern Syria, with the aim of “causing trouble to Russia, which is fully in control of the region.”
Since 2018, the United States has permanently suspended work in the military support room designated for the opposition forces in southern Syria, known as MOC. This came after an agreement with Russia to remove Iran from the area adjacent to the Israeli-occupied territories, where the latter fears the stationing of Lebanese Hezbollah and factions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard there.
Since its invasion of Ukraine began four weeks ago, Russia has been warning of U.S. and Western plans to strike the stability of regime-controlled areas “by cooperating with opposition groups to carry out attacks against regime forces and Russian and Iranian military personnel in these areas,” according to an earlier Russian intelligence statement.
Opposition sources revealed to al-Modon that the United States has already begun contact with various opposition parties for achieving this goal. This was part of the agenda of a visit by U.S. officials to areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeast of the country.
According to these sources, U.S. contacts also included former Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders, as well as anti-regime groups in Suweida. They explained that the reactions of these parties were cautious, especially the SDF, which has good relations with Moscow, a file that Washington wants to resolve.
On Thursday morning, several regime soldiers were killed and wounded as a result of the targeting of two security patrols belonging to the political security branch, with explosive devices on the Damascus-Daraa International Road. This came two days after regime officers were killed in a raid on Jassim city.
Read Also: Recap: 11 Years Ago in Syria
A joint security patrol of regime forces stormed Jassim at dawn on Tuesday to launch arrests in the city. This resulted in violent machine-gun clashes with local fighters, killing and wounding more than 10 regime fighters and capturing five others, as well as disrupting three regime vehicles.
Activists from Daraa, whom al-Modon has reached out to, have not ruled out that some of the attacks were the result of an internal conflict between the regime’s apparatus. Ayman Abu Mahmoud, the spokesman for the opposition Ahrar Horan Gathering, puts the incidents as part of “reactions” to the abuses committed by regime forces or security forces in the governorate.
“There is no indication of a resumption of support or cooperation between the anti-regime forces in Horan and the United States, and despite renewed talk of reviving the MOC Room, it seems to be just media pressure on Russia and the regime,” he says.
“Armed operations targeting regime forces or its militias are reactions to violations and abuses committed against the Syrian people, particularly from the Iranian-backed movement within the regime. Specifically, there have been incursions and raids on areas subject to the settlement agreement that provide for the non-deployment of the army and security forces in residential areas. Arrests and other violations have prompted some young people to carry out reprisals, as was the case last weekend in Khirbet Ghazala, Jassim, and other suburbs of Daraa,” he said in a statement to al-Modon.
Ibrahim Jabawi, a member of the opposition negotiating committee, said that the latest attacks were part of “individual operations motivated by retaliation and reaction to the continuing abuses of regime forces in Daraa and its countryside”. “Operations have not stopped since the signing of the settlement agreement in 2018, so linking them to talking about American mobility is also incorrect and unacceptable,” he told al-Modon.
“These attacks are not directed by anyone and are not supported by any party, but are carried out by young people who are angry about what is happening in their villages and towns, and they are not waiting for instructions or incentives from any country to carry out,” said Jabawi, a defected brigadier general from the regime’s police who hails from Daraa governorate.
Opposition groups are talking about the U.S. starting consultations with parties to resume armed action against the regime and its allies in Syria, from the south in Daraa and Suweida. This comes as part of the escalation targeting Russia in response to its army’s invasion of Ukraine, which also includes the Kurds. Others assert that these efforts will not succeed, or at least not be easy, because of the great reservations the U.S. has about the opposition.
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.