The Syrian regime forces entered the city of Tafs in the western countryside of Daraa. This came within the framework of the agreement reached by representatives of the city’s negotiating committee, with the security committee representing the Syrian regime. However, this is provided that the regime’s forces withdraw at a later time, after another meeting that evaluates the final stages of the terms of the agreement– which will be held on Wednesday.
A local source told Al-Modon that a joint security-military force from the regime and military security forces entered the southern section of Tafs. It was stationed in the Cement Corporation’s building, adjacent to the Tafs National Hospital. The source added that the force consists of 20 members and will withdraw from the post later, according to the assessment of the agreement.
On Saturday, the committee reached an agreement with the regime forces, under which the regime would end the military operations in the city and defuse the tension that led to battles and clashes with members of the opposition factions, in addition to the casualties of civilians during the regime’s artillery shelling. The agreement, which was sponsored by the Russian military police, provides for the entry of Tafs, limited inspections of several neighbourhoods inside it, and the establishment of a temporary military post in the cement building.
The source explained that the regime’s insistence on installing the military post in the building is due to the presence of military headquarters and posts belonging to the group of the former leader in the factions of the Southern Front, Khaldoun al-Zoubi. The regime forces had previously advanced from the southern side of the city and took control of several of those posts during the military campaign started by the regime’s army at the end of July.
The source indicated that the inspection process aims to ascertain, according to the regime’s narrative, that there are no foreign figures from outside the city, accusing them of belonging to ISIS and carrying out assassinations targeting regime soldiers and officers in Daraa. This is in addition to accusing Zoubi of sheltering wanted persons from the cities and towns of the governorate in Tafs, and providing them with protection and safety, as well as using them against the regime.
For its part, the Ahrar Houran gathering said that the entry of soldiers is an application of the final stage of the agreement. It explained that this concentration would be temporary, pending the end of the meeting to be held on Wednesday between elders from the Zoubi clan in Daraa and the head of the security committee in the southern region, Mufid al-Hassan.
The gathering pointed out that after the meeting as well, regime forces will withdraw from the vicinity of Tafs. While the regime insists on establishing military posts in areas close to those that Zoubi takes as military headquarters, the city committee rejects these demands, due to the implications for the farmers in the southwestern part of it. This is in addition to tightening the noose on the city as the regime clings to establishing three military posts on the Daraa-Tafs road.
The regional escalation began at the end of July, after the head of the security committee in Daraa governorate, Maj. Gen. Mufid al-Hassan, threatened to invade Daraa al-Balad and villages and towns in the north and west of the governorate if the committee’s demands were not met to extradite wanted persons who refused the settlement processes with the regime.
Assassination of former leader
In addition, unknown gunmen assassinated Sheikh Fadi al-Asimi, one of Daraa’s notables, with direct gunfire in the city of Dael in the northern countryside of Daraa. He died instantly.
Local networks reported that unknown assailants fired live ammunition at Asimi on Tuesday while he was on the main road in the city of Dael, without knowing the circumstances of the incident.
Asimi is one of the prominent figures in Daraa governorate. His name emerged with the start of the Syrian revolution in Daraa in 2011, when he led the revolutionary movement in Dael, and was part of the delegation that met with the President of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, to discuss the escalation that the governorate was witnessing at the time against the regime.
Following the takeover of Daraa by opposition factions, Asimi participated in military operations within the Jaish al-Mutaz faction, then joined the “settlement” agreement after Assad’s forces took control of the governorate in 2018.
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.