On December 4, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) formed a new force named “Tribes Army” in the southern Daraa governorate, according to Syrian oppositions sources. The Tribes Army will allow former fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in southern Syria to join its ranks according to the sources.
The Syrian pro-government newspaper al-Watan said that the Tribes Army will be led by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Rifai. Over 160 former FSA fighters and commanders from Daraa have already joined the new force, according to the source.
Syrian opposition activists from Daraa revealed that most of the Tribes Army fighters defected from the al-Omari Brigades, one of the biggest FSA groups in southern Syria. In an official statement, the al-Omari Brigades acknowledged that “only few” of its fighters and commanders defected to the pro-government Tribes Army.
This is the second pro-government force to be formed by the SAA in southern Syria in the last few months. In November, the SAA established a local force known as the “133 Brigade” in Izra town in the northern Daraa countryside.
The SAA is likely forming these new local forces in order to aid it in any future military operations there. Especially that the SAA suffered from a series of setbacks in Daraa governorate in 2017.