Syria Military Brief: South Syria – 04 October 2022

The regime continues to escalate militarily against former opposition communities in western Daraa, blockading the town of Jasim where serious tensions continue to disrupt life for local residents. On-and-off clashes, as well as mortar strikes from the regime, have made life exceedingly difficult for the town’s residents as the regime continues to demand the surrender of several wanted individuals in the area. The overwhelmingly poor security conditions have pushed hundreds of young men to flee south Syria for Turkey, Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East, with at least 1,000 individuals departing Daraa since August 2022.

Attached Map: Recent Developments in South Syria – 4 October 2022

Western Daraa Tensions

  • Jasim escalation: The regime has worked to erode the autonomy of the former opposition throughout Daraa, concluding a settlement deal forced by a military escalation in the Tafas area in western Daraa in late August. Almost immediately afterwards, the regime set its sights on former opposition communities elsewhere in Daraa, focusing primarily on the town of Jasim in the province’s north. Beginning in late August, the regime laid siege to the town and deployed large numbers of reinforcements to the area. Since then, the regime had greatly restricted the movement of civilians to and from the area while simultaneously engaging in intermittent mortar strikes against residential areas and the farmland that surrounds the town.
  • Life at standstill: The siege of Jasim has greatly disrupted the lives of the town’s residents. Currently, it is exceedingly difficult for residents to enter and exit the area as hundreds of soldiers guard the town’s periphery. The regime is demanding that the local former opposition agree to a new settlement deal and hand over several wanted individuals, but negotiations have yet to produce an end to the violence.

Recent Developments

  • Petty crime: Several residents living on farmland between Mlaiha a-Sharqiyah and ad-Dara in rural eastern Daraa province were burgled by gangs, with criminals stealing money and belongings from several civilians (18.9).
  • Men flee Daraa: Military-age men continue to depart Daraa province in high numbers, fleeing a dire economic situation and the threat of conscription into the regime’s army. An estimated 1,000 others have departed south Syria for Turkey, Europe and elsewhere since August 2022.
  • Municipal elections: Local elections were held in south Syria, an event that garnered little attention within the local community (18.9). More than 60 communities were not included in the elections—likely due to fears of attacks by armed groups against polling stations, a trend witnessed during the 2021 presidential election. Although few residents actually voted, participation for municipal workers in Daraa city was mandatory and schoolchildren were made to stand outside of polling stations in the provincial capital.
  • Farmers protest crop damage: A group of local farmers protested outside of the Military Intelligence detachment in Hayt in rural western Daraa province, criticizing the regime for failing to reimburse farmers for lost earnings after several fields were damaged by the regime (6.9). Members of Military Intelligence later discharged weapons to dissolve the crowd, injuring one of the farmers.

Humanitarian Developments

  • Coronavirus outbreak: Healthcare workers in Daraa province recorded 322 new coronavirus infections over the last reporting period (28.8-1.9).
  • Electricity reduced: The regime announced that it would reduce the availability of electricity in Daraa province to just three hours each day, citing a loss of revenues and a shortage of gas as the prime drivers behind the decision (1.9).