The commander of the US-backed Free Syrian Army faction, Farid al-Qasim, expressed his support for the Suweida protests in southern Syria. This endorsement came shortly after his meeting with US Senator French Hill, which coincided with Hill’s contact with one of the Druze community sheikhs in Suweida, Sheikh Hikmat al-Hijri.
Regarding the coordination between Qasim’s meeting with Hill and Hill’s contact with Hijri, Qassem mentioned in an interview with Arabi21, “Yes, we communicated with US Representative French Hill. As for the purpose of the meeting with Sheikh Hijri, I am not aware of its specifics. However, we wholeheartedly support the demands of the ongoing protests in Suweida.”
Regarding the recent developments observed at the US base in Tanf, these changes were documented by the “ICADA” platform using satellite images accessible through the Google Earth Pro program. These alterations primarily focus on enhancing security measures. Qassem commented on this, saying, “It is natural for there to be an increase in armament and training to ensure the safety of the de-escalation zone, often referred to as the 55th area. Currently, we are training a number of new fighters who have joined the ranks of the Free Syrian Army.”
Addressing the tensions in Deir-ez-Zor between Arab tribal forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Qassem emphasized the importance of the Free Syrian Army’s involvement in resolving the prevailing tension. He stated that his faction is open to engaging with all relevant parties, as reported by Arabi21. Qassem stated, “We are actively seeking a comprehensive solution to this issue, and as partners of the international coalition, we believe we should have a role in finding a resolution.”
Qassem also commented on reports of a potential US military operation along the Iraqi-Syrian border, saying, “As of now, there has been no significant movement in that regard. The current actions of US forces primarily consist of routine movements and patrols.”
These remarks from Qassem follow his meeting with US Senator French Hill and Senator Brendan Boyle, where they discussed strategies to safeguard the Tanf area in southern Syria, as detailed in Qassem’s official account on the X website.
It is worth noting that the Free Syrian Army is a locally supported military force backed by the United States. It was initially established in the Tanf region of southern Syria at the intersection of the Jordan-Syria-Iraq borders in 2015 under the name Commandos of the Revolution. In October 2022, its name was changed to the Free Syrian Army. Its primary mission remains the protection of the American base in Tanf.
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.