Warplanes of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) have been spotted over Daraa’s western countryside, where tensions between government forces and former rebels are mounting.
A number of warplanes flew over the region between January 26 and 27 in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate former rebels.
The sorties began following a meeting between commanders of ex-rebels in western Daraa and senior officers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The meeting, which was held in al-Dahiyah district of Daraa’s city center on January 25, was also attended by the Russian Military Police.
During the meeting, former rebels in western Daraa were allegedly threatened with an aerial strike if they don’t agree to expel six infamous gunmen to the northwestern region of Greater Idlib.
Five of the gunmen, who were reportedly behind a number of attacks on Syria government forces in western Daraa, were identified:
- Muhammad Jad Allah al-Zoubi from the town of Tafas;
- Iyad al-Ghanim from the town of Al-Yadudah;
- Muhammad Qasim al-Subaihi from the town of Atman;
- Muhammad Ibrahim al-Shaghouri from the town of al-Muzayrib;
- Iyad Ja’ara from the town of Tell Shihab;
Local commanders in western Daraa were given time until January 28 to accept the SAA’s demands or they will face a military action. The Horan Free League reported on January 27 that the commanders are planning to reject the demands.
Last week, the SAA’s elite 4th Division deployed large reinforcements in western Daraa. Limited clashes broke out on January 24. No losses were reported, however.
The situation has chances to escalate into a full-on military confrontation if western Daraa commanders reject the SAA’s demands.
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