On July 11, the ISIS-affiliated Khalid ibn al-Walid Army entered the villages of Hayt and Khirbat Y’ala in the western Daraa countryside after an agreement with the local Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups, according to the Syrian pro-opposition outlet Enab Baladi.
The FSA accepted the agreement following a large attack of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army on its positions in Hayt and Khirbat Y’ala. Under the agreement, FSA fighters handed over their weapons to the ISIS-affiliated group and withdrew to the nearby village of Zayzun.
A day earlier the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) carried out a series of airstrikes on several positions of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army around Hayt. The pro-government blog al-Masdar News said that the airstrikes were aimed at supporting the FSA in order to prevent the terrorist group from expanding in the western Daraa countryside.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 16 FSA fighters and 12 fighters of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army were killed during the clashes around Hayt.
Local observers fear that the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army may force the FSA to accept similar agreements in other areas in the governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra. Such a strategy may allow the terrorist group to expand rapidly and to threaten southern Syria.