Assad regime troops in Daraa Province, southern Syria, July 2018
UPDATE, FEB 12:
Assad regime military officials say Army units have entered the town of Tafas in western Daraa Province.
A field commander said the units wil “establish stability and end the state of insecurity”.
In late January, regime forces attacked the town as it demanded that local groups give up weapons and hand over men.
The assault was repulsed, with Russian officials brokering talks between the regime’s military and the Local Central Committee. However, Russian military police threatened airstrikes if faction leaders were not deported to Idlib Province in northwest Syria.
UPDATE, FEB 2:
Another mayor has been assassinated in Daraa Province.
Gunmen killed the mayor of Eastern Karak in the east of the province on Monday, five days after his home was targeted with a grenade. He is the third mayor slain in Daraa this year.
Insurgents killed at least 35 men in January, the highest toll since May 2020. Of the victims, 27 were part of the Assad regime’s military and intelligence services, six were former rebels, and two were mayors.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JAN 29: Confrontation has further surged in Daraa Province in southern Syria, 2 1/2 years after Russian and pro-Assad forces reoccupied the site of the March 2011 uprising.
Earlier this week regime forces attacked Tafas in western Daraa as it demanded that local groups give up weapons and hand over men.
The assault was repulsed, with Russian officials brokering talks between the regime’s military and the Local Central Committee. However, Russian military police threatened airstrikes if six faction leaders were not deported to Idlib Province in northwest Syria by the end of this week.
Unconfirmed reports from pro-opposition outlets claimed attacks on multiple Assad regime checkpoints, in response to the pressure on Tafas.
On Thursday, gunmen assassinated the mayor of the town of Nahtah in eastern Daraa.
Mamdouh al-Mafa’lani is the fourth mayor in Daraa killed since last year. No party has claimed responsibility.
All of Daraa Province was subjugated in July 2018 after a six-week offensive by Russia and regime forces.
Under the Assad proclamation of “reconciliation”, the regime agreed to reinstate all dismissed Government employees and to rebuild civil government institutions and the public health sector. But most of the population still has no access to adequate health services, with more than 446,000 civilians needing humanitarian aid. Witnesses say that aid is often diverted by the regime.
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.
In November, an agreement staved off the occupation of the town of Karak Sharqi, in eastern Daraa Province, with regime forces allowed to search for men whom they wanted to detain.