The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is amassing a large strike force in Daraa as a part of preparations for a possible large-scale security operation in the southern governorate.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the SAA reinforcements arrived in Daraa on May 7. The troops were deployed in Tell al-Khodor, Athman, al-Yadudah and at the Saru checkpoint.
A day earlier, around 50 military vehicles armed with heavy machine guns and carrying dozens of troops arrived in al-Sheikh Sa’ad, al-Sheikh Maskin and Tell al-Khodor.
The SOHR said that the upcoming operation will likely target the town of Muzayrib, where nine Syrian policemen were killed in a brutal attack earlier this week. The locals of the town promised to hand over the perpetrators of the attack, among them a known commander. However, they failed to do so.
“The wanted [commander] was supposed to be handed over by the elders of the region through Russian mediation, but the commander is still hiding,” the SOHR said in a report.
Pro-government sources identified the wanted commander as Mohamad Qassim al-Subhi, aka “Abu Tariq,” the former leader of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) al-Karam Brigade. The commander, who joined the reconciliation process in mid-2018, is reportedly behind other attacks on SAA troops in Daraa.
In the last few weeks, dozens of Syrian service members were killed or injured in different parts of Daraa’s countryside. ISIS claimed responsibility for some of the attacks. The upcoming SAA operation will likely help to restore security in the southern governorate.