On March 15, a battle broke out in Jasim in the western countryside of Syria’s Daraa when a force of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID) stormed the town to arrest a number of gunmen who are wanted for cooperating with ISIS and carrying out terrorist attacks.
The gunmen resisted arrest and targeted the GID force with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Intelligence officers fired back. However, they were ultimately forced out from the town by the gunmen.
During the clashes, the gunmen damaged two truck-mounted machine guns and an armored vehicle of the GID. Five intelligence officers were also captured by the gunmen.
The battle in Jasim claimed the lives of five people, four of whom were officers of the GID. Pro-government activists identified the casualties as Jaafar Hassan, Saleh al-Ahmad, Ahmed Nabnab and Abdel-Qader Salama. The fifth casualty, obaida al-Sahw, was likely a gunman.
After the battle, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) deployed a large, heavily-armed force around Jasim, de-facto besieging the town.
The gunmen in Jasim released the five captives and returned the damaged trucks to the GID a day later under an initial agreement that was brokered by the SAA’s 8th Brigade, a Russian-backed unit that is dedicated for former rebels in Daraa. The army warned that it will storm the town with full force if the gunmen don’t fulfill to its demands.
The situation in Jasim remains tense. The wanted gunmen are still holding up in the town. Syrian authorities will not likely back down before arresting the gunmen. If peaceful efforts fail, the SAA will likely use brute force to neutralize the gunmen and their supporters.
The battle in Jasim reflect the fragile security situation in Daraa. Syrian authorities are yet to impose full control over the governorate.