The Regime and “Jaysh Khalid” Compete in Distributing Propaganda in Daraa
The Syrian regime and the faction “Jaysh Khalid bin al-Walid” are currently competing in distributing propaganda leaflets in opposition-held areas of Daraa. The regime’s leaflets are calling for reconciliation among local residents, while leaflets dropped by “Jaysh Khalid” are calling for repentance.
Enab Baladi obtained pictures of the leaflets on 16 May. The pictures show the regime’s leaflets calling on residents in rebel-held areas to “reconcile” with the government, which would “ensure the safe future of the civilians and the region completely” and would be “a door to security and salvation”, as the text puts it.
The regime’s leaflets, which were thrown out of helicopters in the al-Lajaa area, said that “Syria deserves good fortunate – let’s work together to stop the bloodshed and reach our potential”.
The regime has followed the same pattern of propaganda distribution in all of Syria’s regions since beginning its recent military campaigns. Leaflets have been dropped to residents before movements by the army; the last region where this tactic was pursued was northern Homs, in the lead-up to an evacuation deal being reached with opposition factions.
Meanwhile, leaflets from “Jaysh Khalid” – which is said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS – were dropped from drones over the rebel-held and besieged town of Hit. These leaflets said that “we call upon all factions to repent and to cease fighting against the Mujahidin. We call upon all to reject support and subsidy from the Jews, Christians, and apostates.
The leaflets go on to address opposition factions, saying that “he who comes to us to repent before being forced to, we will accept his repentance and safeguard his life. What we have will be shared with him … Our time is coming soon, servants of the cross”.
“Jaysh Khalid” controls most of the municipalities in the Yamouk Basin area, after having launched a surprise attack in February 2017. During this attack the group seized towns and rural areas, the most prominent of which were Sahem al-Joulan, Tasil, and Tal al-Jamoua.
The group’s fighters are concentrated in the Yarmouk Basin areas and the villages of Hamla and Abidin near the Golan Heights border. Some members are also based in the al-Qusayr and Kawiya area near the Jordanian border.
The distribution of leaflets is ongoing at the same time as opposition factions are preparing to begin a campaign to break the siege around the town of Hit. Last June “Jaysh Khalid” cut off the last supply route to the town, leaving it encircled. An opposition military source told Enab Baladi that the campaign is likely to begin in the coming days, and will involve a large number of fighters.
The ceasefire agreement remains ongoing in Syria’s south after being reached between opposition factions and the Syrian government last 9 July. However, although Daraa, Quneitra, and Suweida governorates are specified as “de-escalation” areas, the details of the agreement remain unknown.