The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Over the past few months, the pace of the war in Syria has declined somewhat, the regime regained control of many different areas, and inhabitants of these areas thought that they would finally be safe from the scourge of war that has destroyed their lives over the past 8 years, but the winds blow in ways ships do not desire, where regime’s restoration of control over the Syrian territory was a new chapter in the chain of scourges and crises the Syrians are suffering, starting from the continuous killings, insecurity, regime’s repeated violations against people of the areas it regained control of; increasing the tension in these areas, making assassinations and killings almost daily operations, amid fears of increased insecurity and violations.
Over the past weeks and months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented countless violations against the Syrian citizens in regime forces’-controlled areas, perhaps the most prominent of which is resentment of living conditions, killings, assassinations, and activities of regime’s supporters (Shabiha), in addition the targeting of those who carried out Reconciliations in the vicinity of the capital, south of Syria, and other areas controlled by the regime, these events appear to be happening due to the number of forces controlling regime forces’-controlled areas, as well as the emergence of unknown gunmen with the name of “Popular Resistance”, who chose to take up arms as an expression of their rejection for the Syrian regime’s return to Daraa province while the civilians continue to reject existence of the regime and its allies through hostile writings on walls of roads and schools, as Daraa is considered to be the main scene for liquidating personal accounts and repeated targeting, with hardly a day passes without an assassination attempt, attack, or bombing.
Assassination, bombings, and kidnappings… Punishment of cooperation with the regime in its controlled areas
The reconciliation areas and regime forces’-controlled areas remain a fertile ground for activities of the anti-regime groups and militias, which reinforces reprisals and killings in the face of the insecurity wave sweeping the area. On August 17th, the Syrian Observatory documented the assassination of an imam and preacher of a mosque in “Alma” town in the eastern countryside of Daraa, where reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that the killed imam was carrying a security card and was accompanied by bodyguards. Just two days earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored another assassination in the western countryside of Daraa, where unidentified gunmen shot 2 members of the 4th Division of the regime forces in “Nahj” town which killed them instantly, also reliable source told the Syrian Observatory that 2 unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a member of the regime forces in “Sheikh Saad” town in the western countryside of Daraa, killing him instantly.
On August 16th, sources revealed to the Syrian Observatory that the body of an unidentified person with signs of torture was found between the village of “Salim” and “Rimat Hazem”, in the northern countryside of al-Suwaidaa, as part of the security chaos that is spreading throughout al-Suwaidaa province two days after unknown gunmen attacked vehicles of the so-called “Sheikh al-Karama Forces” south of Al-Suwaidaa province on the road between the cities of “Al-Suwaidaa – Salkhad”. Sources told the Syrian Observatory that the regime forces are seeking to drag the area into a security chaos through the Shabiha and its cells, to force sons of al-Suwaidaa to engage in clashes within the ranks of the Syrian regime, while “Sheikh al-Karama Forces” who include local gunmen of al-Suwaidaa on May 25th, executed 3 people for the murder of one of their leaders in Salkhad town earlier this month.
On June 18th, Al-Suwaidaa city witnessed significant tensions over the kidnapping of a civilian activist who opposes the regime, where activists pointed fingers at regime’s intelligence, and they confirmed that it was the intelligence services who kidnapped the civilian activist. the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored a protest carried out by tens of people in front of Al-Suwaidaa province building, where protesters carried banners read: “Freedom for the forcibly detained people”, “Freedom for prisoners of conscience”, “Freedom for the peaceful activist Muhannad Shabaldin”, and “Muhannad is not a criminal, a terrorist, or a drug dealer to end up in detention.”
On August 11th, an explosive device planted by unknown assailants exploded on the hospital road in “Jassim” city, northwest of Daraa, where the device targeted members of the regime forces which caused several injuries in their ranks. And the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the killing of a member and the injury of another of regime’s army border guards; in shooting by unidentified gunmen on al-Harbi road between “Naseeb” town and the old customs. On the 10th of the same month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored a new assassination target a member of regime’s Republican Guard forces, where unknown people opened fire on members of the Republican Guard in Nawa city northwest of Daraa, killing the member and injuring two others.
And among the assassinations and killings as a result of the insecurity in regime forces’-controlled areas, is the assassination of an “informant” of the military security after being shot by unknown gunmen in “al-Sanamin” city, during a protest to denounce the chaos which is escalating day after the other in the city and throughout Daraa province. On August 9th, an explosion shook Tafas town in the western countryside of Daraa, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that the explosion was caused by targeting using an RBG shell, which injured citizens of one family. Sources of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also monitored shooting targeted 3 members who carried out “reconciliations and settlements” and became part of the regime forces in the western neighborhood of al-Sanamin city, which caused varying injuries.
The Syrian Observatory also documented the kidnapping of one of regime’s informants near Daraa city as part of the chaos in the province. On August 8th, sources at the Observatory monitored clashes between gunmen believed to be of “Popular Resistance” -whose activities are increasing in Daraa province- against a number of the regime forces, during an attack by the “Resistance” against one of the checkpoints of the regime in “Tasil” town, in the western countryside of Daraa, but no information about casualties. On the same day, unknown members of the Republican Guard were assassinated in Tal Shihab town in the western countryside of Daraa, a few hours before that operation, gunmen assassinated a member of the “Settlement” factions in “Daraa al-Balad” in “Daraa” city, after they had made reconciliations and settlements earlier and joined the ranks of the 4th Division of the regime forces.
On August 4, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the assassination of 2 young men from the same family by unknown assailants, where the bodies were found at al-Harbi road southwest of “Daraa” city, while clashes took place between the regime forces against gunmen on the 3rd of the month in the northern neighborhood of the city and continued For several hours, but no casualties were reported on either side. the Syrian Observatory also monitored gunmen believed to be belong to the “Popular Resistance;” assassinating one of the people working with the Lebanese Hezbollah in secret, in “Nahta” town in the eastern countryside of Daraa.
On July 31, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored unidentified gunmen assassinating the head of Jellin town’s municipality in the western countryside of Daraa, as well as the assassination of 2 members of the Syrian regime’s Air Intelligence near “Baraq” cemetery south of Tasil town, and on December 29th, unidentified gunmen attacked checkpoints and positions of the regime forces and their militias in the area between “al-Jbyliyyeh” and “Ghadir al-Bustan” in the western countryside of Daraa, while unknown gunmen assassinated an agent of the regime who is the head of al-Baath Party Division in Jassim town on the 27th of the same month.
Arrests, raids, and forced recruitment… the Syrian regime continues its violations against Syrians
There are countless violations committed by the regime in its controlled areas which caused tension within those areas, amid escalation by the security forces and the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them, where these regime forces are stealing citizens, violet their rights, impose royalties, clamping down on them, in addition to the forced recruitment of civilians in ranks of the regime, and as regime’s violations continue, some people try to express their anger by targeting regime forces’ centers and headquarters, as well as writing anti-regime phrases and tearing the image of the regime’s head Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian Observatory monitored in the recent days tearing the image of Syrian regime President, Bashar al-Assad in the square of Qudsaya area on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, accompanied by writing phrases against the Syrian regime on walls in the town, like: “the people want to overthrow the regime, Leave, Freedom Forever,” “followed by continues tension in the town searching for the perpetrators to detain them, also the phrases were removed from the walls on which they were written.
Also part of their continuous violations, in a way that recalls the famous “Daraa” scenario, the Air Intelligence Checkpoint of “Tasil” west of Daraa province arrested 5 children under the age of eighteen from “Tafas” town, but no information about the reasons for the arrest, amid popular discontent and demands for releasing them, while reliable sources told the Syrian Observatory that the regime forces launched a security operation against motorcyclists in “Da’el” town in the central sector of Daraa countryside, and confiscated a large number of those bikes, after incidents of targeting the regime forces using motorcycles. On August 5th, the Syrian Observatory learned from reliable sources that regime’s “Criminal security” branch in “Izra’a” in Daraa countryside arrested 13 young men while they were issuing official papers from the civil registry. On August 14th, reliable sources revealed to the Syrian Observatory that the security services carried out raids and arrested people in “Sheikh Sa’eid” town, where they arrested 5 citizens from their homes and took them to an unknown destination without explaining the reasons for the arrest.
In Hasaka, reliable sources revealed to the Syrian Observatory on the 14th of July 2019, that the regime forces were on alert, amid fears of clashes between the regime forces and “Masked” pro-regime militia, against the background of militia’s failure to comply with regimes’ security services in the city. On the 22nd of December 2018, south of Rif Dimashq, specifically Yalda town, witnessed tensions as the regime continued their security tightening because of the rejection of the agreement of “reconciliation with the regime”. the town also witnessed tearing picture of the head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad by unknown people, which caused an operation of arrests and largescale raids in search of the perpetrators.
The regime continued its violations in front of the guarantors, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored raids by the regime forces against fighters of the “reconciliation” factions and civilians in areas at Daraa countryside, coincided with imposing royalties, looting property, and the contents of the houses of villages and towns in Daraa countryside, which caused widespread resentment among the people as a result of regime’s daily violations against civilians such as insults, arrests, looting, stealing and imposing royalties, not to mention the Russian military police forces, who deliberately turn a blind eye against these abuses and violations.
The Syrian Observatory monitored the regime forces transferring tens of fighters of the faction, which remained and chose the “settlements and reconciliations” with the regime forces in Daraa province to the battlefronts in Idlib province, which is expected to witness a grand battle in the coming days, it also monitored that the factions which carried out “reconciliation” with the regime forces, sent tens of their fighters to fight in the side of the regime forces against the “Islamic State” organization, in Rif Dimashq Desert, at the administrative border with Al-Suwaidaa countryside, after they fought previously in the side of Jaysh Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed which pledges allegiance to the “Islamic State” organization, in Yarmouk Basin in the western sector of Daraa countryside.
Over the past weeks and months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored a massive recruitment operation by the regime forces of young people in the “reconciliations” areas, forcing them to attend military training courses and then being transferred to the front lines. Where until the 20th of August 2018, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented that the regime forces recruited about 53500 people since the beginning of April 2018, from the areas that returned to its control in accordance with demographic change deals; by displacing the people who reject the agreements between the factions and representatives of the area and between the regime with the Russian guarantor in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa and from the south of the capital “Damascus”, and the towns and cities of the Eastern Ghouta, south of Rif Dimashq, Eastern Qalamoun, Zabadani Plain, Madaya, Wadi Barada, and the west of Rif Dimashq, and al-Tal area in Rif Dimashq, reliable sources revealed to the Syrian Observatory that the recruitment operations in these areas were carried out at the request of Russian Forces, amid fears of officers and groups within the regime forces of the Russian goal of displacement and gaining the friendliness of the remaining population in areas of the “settlement and reconciliations”.
Despite the reconciliation and settlement operations, regime’s intelligences continue their arrests and random campaigns in regime forces’-controlled areas, where the Syrian Observatory monitored regime’s branches arresting a former leader of the factions who carried out “reconciliation and settlement,” where he was arrested from his home in “Jbab” town in Daraa countryside. And in the Eastern Ghouta; the Syrian Observatory learned from several reliable sources that the security services of regime’s intelligence arrested 7 women of who work in the field of “Islamic Dawa” (calling to Islam, like preachers do) in Douma city northeast of Damascus, and in the details obtained by the Syrian Observatory: the arrests took place in different times over the past few days and weeks, where prosecuting the females preachers was not confined to arresting them, but extended to become an extortion process for some of them, where intersected sources confirmed that one of the released female preachers of the seven arrested females, was arrested at “al-Khatib branch” in the capital Damascus, and she was investigated about her preaching-related activities in giving lessons about the Islamic religion, and her relationship with the military factions which used to exist in the Eastern Ghouta, the sources added that officers in the branch asked her to pay an amount of money to close her file in the branch and not to call her again for investigation.
On the 21st of April 2019, the Syrian Observatory learned from several sources that regime’s security services arrested people in al-Tal city north of the capital Damascus, where they arrested a citizen, his wife, and 3 other young people of the city by the Air Intelligence Branch of regime’s security forces. In July, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that phrases threaten those who struck reconciliation and settlement deals with the regime forces, were found written on the walls in the Eastern Al-Gharya in the south-eastern countryside of Daraa, they read “for those who sold their conscience, dignity and religion, we watch you and the next is bitterer…revolution until victory”
Difficult living conditions… And attempts to attract attention
Regime’s violations in its controlled areas do not stop at the limit of killings, insecurity, assassinations, arrests, and raids, where the humanitarian conditions of civilians living within regime forces’-controlled areas have led many to try to express their anger at the poor living conditions, this prompted an elderly man to attempt suicide in “Hama” city on the 15th of January 2019, where he threw himself in Assi River in “om al-Hasan” area in Hama city, and according to information of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: those close to him confirmed that the suicide attempt came against the backdrop of his poor living conditions. A day earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned from reliable sources resentment increases among residents of the areas which are controlled by the regime forces, which are more than 60% of the Syrian territory, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been monitoring for days a state of great discontent; in the wake of the crisis of domestic heating and gas materials in regime forces’-controlled areas, and at a time when the cold winter storm the Syrian territory; the resentment increases with every delay by the regime’s authorities and government in resolving the outstanding issues related to the livelihood of citizens, who showed their deep resentment at the indifference shown by regime’s authorities, and the Syrian Observatory monitored the resentment turning into a case of clear expression and in a direct manner, where a video appeared of a former fighter in the regime forces who suffered a previous injury during his service in the ranks of the regime for nearly 5 years, he was calling for the overthrow of the regime of Bashar al-Assad from the middle of Tartous city, which is the only province in which the regime remained in control most of the past years.
The Syrian Observatory learned through reliable sources that the discontent situation has worsened within regime forces’-controlled areas, amid fears that the regime forces will take revenge from its supporters and instead of finding comprehensive solutions to end the current sever crisis in its controlled areas, this state of discontent witnessed the solidarity of artists, intellectuals, and various parties, who demanded the head of the regime and the government to intervene immediately, to solve the crisis plaguing the population, while a medical worker in regime forces’-controlled areas threatened with suicide on the 18th of January 2019.
the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights surveyed views of the residents of regime forces’-controlled areas about their ability to make any change in the life of people, where they stressed that the regime “is working to fabricate crises through merchants of war to achieve greater profit and sell at double prices, where after they looted everything; there is nothing left for them to steal except the salaries of the employees and the wages of the workers to satisfy their greed, and the people added: “we saw how even the senior officials in regime’s authority could not stop the looting, and the fate of those who criticized was silencing in different ways, and today we see this crisis is taking place away of the attention of the officials who have enough of everything.”
What confirms that the regime is creating crises in its controlled areas to tighten its grip on those areas, is what the Syrian Observatory published on the 23rd of May 2019, where the regime forces surrounded “al-Sanamin” city for 8 days in a row, through closing the roads leading to the city and preventing entering or exiting out of it, and preventing the entry of food.
Regime’s attempts to draw attention to the bad living situations in its controlled areas do not stop there, where on the 30th of July 2019, unknowns people and citizens continue to express their rejection for the presence of the regime forces and their militias within Daraa province, through phrases they write on walls of schools, towns, and villages in several areas of the province, where the Syrian Observatory monitored new phrases in Saham al-Golan town west of Daraa, some of which say: “down with the regime and all its soldiers and revolution until the victory,” and “the people of Idlib are our people”, and on the walls of the “Eastern Karak” town the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored expressions against the regime forces, the Iranian presence, and the presence of the Lebanese Hezbollah, where they say: “were are coming -you- dogs of Iran and Hezbollat, Saraya al-Janoub” (referring to the pagan god “Allat” instead of Allah in the phrase), while other writings say: “al-Baath Party is a traitor and affiliating to it is a crime, Saraya al-Janoub,”
The Syrian Observatory also monitored anti-reconciliation and anti-regime writings in Daraa countryside, where unknown people wrote “compulsory service is fighting for infidels” and “the settlement is a humiliation before death,” on the walls of Nawa city in the countryside of Daraa, and in Daraa al-Balad, the Syrian Observatory monitored phrases written by unknown people, they say: “Our pain in our livelihood will not let us forget our detainees, our dignity is above your security grip, we reject the tent of Shame.” Other read: “down with al-Baath Party, we want the detainees, and no for the mandatory service “