Daraa Province, Syria – A chronicle of instability, this time in Jasem

On December 12 an IED exploded near a military convoy traveling on the main road between Daraa and Damascus, east of the city of Jasem, in the agricultural area surrounding it.  Three soldiers were reported killed in the explosion. This is not a rare incident in southern Syria, especially the Daraa province, which suffers from security instability. However, the soldiers killed this time were Russians.

Above: The Russian military convoy that was attacked.

Following the incident, the Syrian Army laid siege to the city of Jasem and its environs, with the intention of conducting an extensive raid in the city to capture the perpetrators. This kind of operation in the Jasem area has occurred before, such as in late 2022, when the Syrian army conducted a major operation against what it called ISIS squads in the area of the city of Jasem, including in the city itself, which included the imposition of a siege and raids.

The Syrian army’s siege was reinforced by local militias supported by the Syrian regime. The siege on Jasem and its environs included the structure of checkpoints, including inside the city itself, while restricting the movement of civilians in and out. In addition, civilian movement between Jasem and the town of Inkhil to its east was closely monitored. Furthermore, searches were carried out on farms in this area, under the assumption that this is where the perpetrators came from.  In Jasem, exchanges of fire began between locals and military forces.

According to unverified indications, among the reinforcing forces were also about 500 Iranian militia operatives who may have taken advantage of the preparations for an operation in the city to reinforce their forces in the area.

With the intensification of the siege and the residents’ fear of a large-scale operation that would lead to destruction, negotiations began between representatives of the regime and its security apparatuses and Jassem dignitaries.  This is a familiar practice at such events in Daraa Province.

The negotiations between Jasem dignitaries and the commander of the Syrian army’s Third Corps, Mufid Hassan, and the head of the security forces in the area, Al-Ali, took place on a farm east of Jasem. Regime representatives demanded that there be no opposition to search and search farms in return for the withdrawal of military forces from the center of Jasem. The dignitaries, for their part, announced that they intend to impose a self-curfew on the residents and even close the schools as long as the increased presence of regime forces inside the city continues.

It seems that the sides reached a preliminary agreement, as reports and photographs began documenting the exit of military vehicles from the city center.

Above: Ababil 3 used by the Syrian Army patrols over Jassem

The incident is currently underway and there are still conflicting reports regarding the extent to which the agreement (if signed) between the residents and the regime will be implemented. Military transport vehicles and vans continue to retreat from the city center, but the aerial activity of UAVs gathering intelligence over Jasem continues.

According to indications from December 19, the Syrian army has redeployed in the town of Jasem and will enter and leave certain neighborhoods for a short period of time according to its needs for searches.

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Tal Beeri

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