Rising tension | Regime-backed militiamen fire mortars on positions in Daraa al-Balad, amid popular fear of storming the town
Daraa province: SOHR sources have reported that the regime-backed 4th Division, which is amassing troops in the surrounding areas of Daraa al-Balad, fired several mortars on the surrounding areas of Tariq al-Sadd and the area of al-Bahar in Daraa al-Balad. Meanwhile, a state of panic is prevailing among the region’s residents for fear of launching a military operation in the town.
SOHR sources have just reported that a group of the 4th Division stormed and inspected several civilian houses in the south and east of Daraa al-Balad this morning. Meanwhile, unknown gunmen opened fire on the 4th Division’s members.
After storming these houses, members of the 4th Division stationed on the road to al-Sadd and Daraa al-Balad, where they opened fire indiscriminately on farms around Daraa al-Balad, injuring two civilians. While a state of tension was rising in the region.
On Sunday, reliable SOHR sources said that the regime-backed 4th Corps, headed by Maher al-Assad the brother of the Syrian regime’s president, brought in large military reinforcement from Damascus to Daraa. Tens of military personnel carriers arrived in Daraa province where some of the vehicles headed to Daraa city, while the others headed to the surrounding areas of Tafas and al-Muzayrib in the western countryside of Daraa. However, the reasons behind this reinforcement remained unknown.
A day earlier, SOHR activists reported that negotiation committees reached a final agreement with regime security committee a day earlier evading military operation in Daraa al-Balad. Meanwhile, negotiation committees and regime forces agreed on a mechanism of implementing the agreement on stages started that night, stipulating for the following terms:
- First day: handing over light weapons in possession of the town’s locals in return for stopping provocation practices by the regime.
- Second day: concealing private weapons and all kind of arm presence.
- Third day: entry of the reconciliation committee escorted by Daraa committee to Daraa al-Balad through al- Saraya checkpoint in order to settle the security situation of 135 persons.
- Fourth day: entry of security services to choose locations of the three checkpoints agreed upon previously.
- Fifth day: withdrawal of regime forces to their barracks and reopening all roads to Dara al-Balad.
SOHR activists had reported that negotiation committees reached an agreement with regime security committee evading military operation in Daraa al-Balad. The agreement stipulated for the following:
- Settlement of the security situation of 50 persons and handing over their weapons
- Setting up new checkpoints of regime troops at the slaughterhouse and post office.
According to SOHR sources, the agreement was presented and approved by both the Daraa committee and Syrian regime, while discussions regarding the mechanism of implementing the agreement continued.
A few days earlier, SOHR activists reported that clans in Daraa al-Balad rejected the demands of the Military Security branch’s head in a meeting with the Central Committee in Hawaran, in which they considered these demands aimed to disturb the area’s stability. It is worth noting that the meeting coincided with the ongoing siege on Daraa al-Balad for the 23rd consecutive days.
According to reliable sources, the head of the Military Security branch in Daraa sent several demands to the Central Committee and clans in Hawaran, threatening of launching security operations in case those demands were rejected.
The demands included the handing over of suspects in Daraa al-Balad or displacing them to north Syrian, as well as forming four permanent military posts in Daraa al-Balad and its surrounding areas as follow:
- First post: in the post office building.
- Second one: near Daraa old customhouse.
- Third post: on the road between Daraa al-Balad and al-Shayah.
- Fourth post: on the road between Tariq al-Sadd neighborhood and Gharz area.