Syria-Iraq-Jordan border triangle | MOC-backed factions scattered near al-Rukban camp, while US-backed faction maintained in the 55-kilometre zone near al-Tanf base
Shortly after the beginning of the “Syrian Revolution” in March 2011, hundreds of rebel factions, including some local factions, some were backed by foreign countries and some others were based on religious ideology, were formed throughout Syria. After these factions had controlled eastern Ghouta, eastern Qalmoun and Rif Dimashq and the number of their fighters, including fighter from east Homs countryside and Deir Ezzor, had increased in these areas, Colonel “Bakur al-Salim” formed “Quwat al-Sitin” faction (the Sixtieth Forces) with its headquarter being in al-Hammad region near the Syria-Jordan border, near al-Hadalat area.
The factions’ name later was changed to “al-Shahid Ahmed al-Abdo forces”, and then a new faction called “Osoud al-Sharqiyah” was also formed in al-Hammad area. These two factions comprised the fighters who managed to leave eastern Ghouta before imposing a strict siege on it and cutting off the supply routes before 2016.
“Liwaa Shuhadaa al-Qaryatain” faction was also formed on the Syria-Jordan border. The three factions had been subordinate and backed by the Military Operations Centre (MOC) with the major headquarters being in Jordan. The number of fighters in the ranking of these factions increased, especially in late 2015, as these fighters were tasked only to fight the Islamic State. At that time, “al-Shahid Ahmed al-Abdo” faction comprised nearly 1,700 fighters, while “Osoud al-Sharqiyah” comprised 1,200 fighters and “Liwaa Shuhada al-Qaryatain” comprised nearly 800 fighters, and they extended towards al-Suwaidaa countryside. The three factions were fully supported and provided with weapons and materiel by the US-backed Military Operations Centre.
After al-Rukban camp was established, nearly 100 kilo meters away from the three factions’ positions, and its habitants increased to nearly 70,000 people, Jordan formed a new military formation of 200 fighters dubbed “Ahrar al-Sharqiyah” with a task of separating the camp’s displaced people and refugees from the Jordanian territory.
In March 2016, al-Tanf area was liberated of ISIS by the International Coalition Forces and the “New Syrian Army” which escorted the Coalition to that region, and whose name was changed later to “Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra”.
While in July 2017, the MOC stopped supporting the region’s factions, including “Osoud al-Sharqiyah”, “al-Shahid Ahmed al-Abdo” forces and “Liwaa Shuhadaa al-Qaryatain”.
Fearing prosecution by regime forces and Iranian-backed militias, the three factions left al-Hammad desert to al-Rukban camp, after al-Hadalat camp was removed and its inhabitants were transported to al-Rukban camp which was located in the 55-kilometre zone surrounding the US base in al-Tanaf. The remaining fighters of these factions therefore had been stationed only seven kilometres away from al-Rukban camp, before the number of fighters started to decrease due to suspension of support. Accordingly, “Maghawir al-Thawra” faction, led by the Brigadier “Muhannad Tallaa”, has become the only military formation left in the border triangle of Syria-Jordan and Iraq. The faction now comprises nearly 300 fighters, and it is still backed by the International Coalition and stationed in al-Tanaf region near the US base in that region.