Russia-backed militiamen clash with Daraa tribesmen

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo


Smoke rises from tribe-owned tents that were set on fire by militiamen from the Russia-backed 8th Brigade in Daraa. [Photo courtesy of Daraa 24]

Fierce fighting erupted Sunday (September 13th) in Syria's Daraa province between local tribesmen and militiamen from the 8th Brigade of the Russia-backed 5th Corps, leading to casualties on both sides, a local activist said.

Meanwhile, assassinations are continuing on a wide scale in various parts of the southern province, Daraa activist Jumaa al-Masalmeh told Diyaruna.

The clashes between 8th Brigade militiamen and tribesmen from al-Ghariya al-Sharqiyah area killed at least two members of the 8th Brigade and wounded a number of others, al-Masalmeh said.

One tribesman was killed, and several others were wounded.


Mohammed al-Jawabreh, a former member of the Syrian opposition, was assassinated in Daraa. [Photo courtesy of Horan Free League]


Fighting has flared in Daraa province between former opposition elements on one side and the Syrian regime forces and Russia-backed militias on the other. [Photo courtesy of Horan Free League]

A state of alert was declared in the area, and a large number of 8th Brigade militiamen were deployed to prevent the fighting from spreading across the province, he said.

These militiamen set fire to tents belonging to the local tribes, he added, and rounded up and detained a large number of people.

Ongoing unrest

Last week, a delegation from the Syrian regime, including military officials from several branches, met with the leaders of the 8th Brigade in rural Daraa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Under Russian pressure, the Observatory said, the regime agreed to work on a comprehensive settlement to the status of 8th Brigade militiamen.

Many militiamen had belonged to former opposition groups, and are still being pursued by the regime, in breach of the Russia-brokered reconciliation agreements that were intended to settle their status.

Assassinations and attacks targeting regime soldiers and collaborators are continuing, al-Masalmeh said, with 12 incidents recorded in recent days.

Daraa Central Committee official Sheikh Muhammad Jamal al-Jalam, "Abu al-Baraa", was among those killed; as was regime intelligence officer Mohammed Salah Jalal, who was shot dead in the eastern Daraa town of Kahil.

A former opposition forces commander, Mohammed al-Jawabreh, also was assassinated, he said, adding that it is likely he was killed by the regime.

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