Assad regime troops in Daraa Province, southern Syria, July 2018


An agreement has staved off the occupation of the town of Karak Sharqi, in eastern Daraa Province, by pro-Assad forces.

Regime units will be allowed to conduct a search for wanted men.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Conflict is resurging in Daraa Province, site of Syria’s 2011 uprising, in the south of the country.

Enabled by Russia, the Assad regime reoccupied all of the province in July 2018. The Russians have sought to maintain rule through deals with former rebels which allowed them to retain their weapons and prevented the full occupation of towns and cities by the regime’s secret police.

However, insurgency and violence have continued. There have been more than 500 attacks since July 2018, including shootings, improvised explosive devices, and motorcycle and car bombs. Reports claim more than 225 pro-Assad troops and officials, including at least 45 former rebels, have been slain since June 2019. About 60 civilians have perished.

See Syria Daily, June 21: 9 Regime Troops Killed in Daraa Bus Bombing — Reports

The latest escalation began last week when the regime’s 4th Division and secret police raided agricultural areas south of Daraa city, seizing wanted men. Former and current rebels clashed with the regime units and, working with civilians, cut roads across the province.

In western Daraa, the rebels seized a checkpoint of the 4th Division, with the arrest of soldiers including two officers. In Karak Sharqi in eastern Daraa, the rebels stormed a checkpoint of Air Force Intelligence and killed several troops.

Russian-brokered negotiations brought the handover of bodies, but the detained troops are still held in Karak Sharqi, surrounded on all sides by the pro-Assad units. Talks resumed on Monday, with the captives handed over to the 8th Division of the regime’s 5th Corps as a “neutral” party.

Residents in other parts of Daraa are demonstrating in solidarity with those in Karak Sharqi, calling for the withdrawal of the regime forces surrounding towns.

But after claims on Tuesday that the regime is reinforcing its positions, reports this morning indicate that pro-Assad forces have entered Karak Sharqi.