On August 9th, 2023, a powerful explosion occurred in the Al-Chiya area of Daraa Governorate, targeting a high-ranking officer and other individuals associated with the regime. This incident took place near the Jordanian border, marking a significant development in the ongoing conflicts within the region.
The blast originated from an explosive device planted within a vehicle belonging to Military Security. The explosion resulted in the loss of several lives, including a prominent commander from Military Security, Mustafa Al-Masalmeh, renowned by the moniker “Al-Kasm.” The explosion claimed the lives of security personnel as well as media correspondents linked to the regime’s media outlets.
Among those who perished was Firas al-Ahmad, a correspondent affiliated with the loyalist Sama Network, as confirmed by the channel itself. Souria Al-Ikhbaria (Syria News), another pro-government, channel also initially reported the demise of its cameraman, Ahmed Al-Masalmeh, in the attack, but later clarified that he survived and is receiving medical attention after being transported to a hospital.
Local reports indicate that the explosion led to the deaths of two assistant non-commissioned officers from the Military Security Branch, Muhammad al-Khalaf, and Wissam Hammoud, an investigator.
The official media aligned with the regime expressed grief over the loss of life, disclosing the casualties.
“SAMA TV reporter, Firas al-Ahmad, and three members of the army forces were martyred when an explosive device planted by terrorists went off on their way back to al-Shayyiah in Daraa countryside,” reported SANA.
“The car carrying al-Ahmad and other army members was targeted in an IED planted by terrorists on a road in the area of al-Shayyiah in Daraa countryside, claiming his life along with three members of the army, a field source told SANA.
Informed sources indicate that the targeted prominent figure, “Al-Kasm,” was accompanied by a Military Security patrol and two reporters. The incident unfolded within the Chiyah area, situated in proximity to the Syrian-Jordanian border.
While the regime’s media asserted that the patrol was engaged in combatting drug smuggling, sources associated with the Free Horan Rally contradicted this account. They contended that the targeted figure, “Al-Kasm,” was a prominent local government official in Daraa, previously associated with opposition factions before entering a settlement agreement orchestrated by the Syrian regime in 2018.
Notably, “Al-Kasm” had been subject to sanctions by both the US and British governments since March, due to his alleged involvement in drug trafficking and smuggling operations spanning from Syria to Jordan. This incident marked the eighth assassination attempt targeting “Al-Kasm” since 2018. Previous attempts involved gunfire and explosive devices, resulting in fatalities among his companions.
As of now, the Syrian regime exercises control over a significant portion of the Daraa Governorate, facilitated by settlement agreements forged with opposition factions and local authorities (Central Committees) in collaboration with Russian mediation. Local networks and observatories persistently document the grim reality of daily targeting and assassinations, encompassing civilians, military personnel, former opposition members, as well as officers and personnel affiliated with the Assad forces.
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.