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Military Factions Put on a Show of Strength in Daraa

A military parade of the engineering and missile team in Daraa governorate - June 7, 2018 (Activist Abu Muslim - Daraa)

A military parade of the engineering and missile team in Daraa governorate - June 7, 2018 (Activist Abu Muslim - Daraa)

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The “Free Army’s” military columns have, in the past a few days, preoccupied the streets and the rural parts of Daraa governorate. The repetition of the military show has, thus, turned into a new “methodology,” as a result of the current political phase and the latest threats waged by Assad’s forces of an anticipated battle to be launched soon to force control over all the opposition-held areas. 

For the first time in Southern Syria, the columns were seen and were also subject for many videos since they took over the streets in the form of “grand” parades, showing off dozens of the factions’ military equipment and armored vehicles. The weaponry was accompanied with the field leaders’ messages, in which they assured that they will combat any potential offensives by Assad’s forces or any of their allies.

The show started with “Shabab al-Sunnah Forces” in the eastern countryside of Daraa. This parade had a sequel, for it was immediately followed by the “Army of Free Tribes,” Jordan-backed, and the “Rocket and Artillery Regiment,” which put forth an outstanding military parade, presenting improvised “large-scale” missiles, which like the parade have appeared in Daraa for the first time, nicknamed “Abu Bakr” rockets.

Southern Syria, however, is currently living a state of recession, which both the undeclared negotiations between the “de-escalation” agreement’s guarantor countries and speculations about the motives that pushed the military factions to show off their weaponry and equipment despite the highly sensitive nature of such details that are usually called “military secrets.”

 “A Show of Strength”

The current state of recession in Southern Syria cannot be seen as separate from the latest space of bargaining, which the Foreign Minister Walid Muallem referred to when he connected Southern Syria’s battle with the US’ withdrawal from the al-Tanf Airbase, and Russia has repeatedly confirmed it in its statements, the last of which followed the meeting that joined, Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

The negotiations about Southern Syria, Daraa in particular, are going on to the day, focusing on an examination of the American presence in the al-Tanf Airbase and the possibility of US withdrawal from it, on the condition that the battle with Assad’s forces and the Russians is cancelled and the Iranian militias are sent out of the area completely.

Informed sources told Enab Baladi about the negotiations, saying that they, “undisclosed,” are taking place in Jordan and that the latest military parades are none but a “show of strength” on the part of the factions, through which they aim to reveal the military power they own and upon which they count to change the military map if possible.

The sources added that the Syrian regime is not a side to the negotiations and knows nothing of their content while waiting for their outcomes to either launch a military operation or to resort to alternative solutions that can save the region from the other Syrian area’s destiny, the last of which was Eastern Ghouta.

According to Adham al-Krad (Abu Qusai), the leader of “Rockets and Artillery Regiment” faction, the military parades are a method and approach of the armed Syrian revolution, laden with several messages; the rifle is yet a potential choice on the table that is considered a response to the enemy’s media escalation machine.”

He also told Enab Baladi that the parades can be used as “a tool to steadfast the grey people, who do not show anti or pro-regime attitude, who got affected by the regime’s threats and resorted to reconciliations fearing the regime’s offensive; they are also directed to stationed militants and mujahedeen who carried arms in defense of their land and honor; and that Houran has not and would not compromise”

Southern Syria might face different possibilities, and according to the leader, which start with political compromise to the open war scenarios, pointing out that “the factions are actively preparing for these varying scenarios.

 

 “Abu Bakr” Missile and Its Mechanisms

The military factions’ parades, in general, have presented four-wheel drive vehicles, known as “Shas,” which is the most prominent type of weaponry that US funded support room “MOC” provided in the first days of the armed movement in Syria.

Except for the a few “BMP” armored vehicles presented by “Shabab al-Sunnah Forces”, the absence of heavy weaponry, modern tanks and armored vehicles, marked these parades, until the moment where the “Artillery Regiment” faction made a show of large-scale and highly effective missiles called “Abu Bakr.”

The leader “Abu Qusai” said that the rockets are “the natural development of the improvised weapons by which we hope to change the horror equation which the aggressor practices against the people in southern Syria.”

It is a short-range missile, more than 90% accurate, with a very destructive warhead of more than 5 tons. It is launched from mobile platforms, which provide a great ability at maneuvering in the positions where they are fixed.

According to the leader, the missile is not a military secret, it follows the generations “Omar” and post Omar, but “it is the rebellious people’s weapon and belongs to all the involved factions. Its use is subject to the understandings between the factions and operation rooms.”

Al-Krad confirmed that his faction is sending reassurances to the neighboring countries and the areas that did not enter the battle’s “furnace” that this type of missiles was found to stop the Assad’s forces’ alley militias’ offensives against civilians.

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