Provinces of Daraa and Al-Sweida facing strife

Provinces of Daraa and Al-Sweida facing strife

The battle of “Al-Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham” and its impact on the province of Al-Sweida

Achieved by: Humam Al-Khateeb

Supervised and edited by: Yousif FAKER AL DEEN

Consultants:

Mr. Anwar AL-BUNNI, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Researches and Studies.

Mr. Ghazi DAHMAN, part-time researcher at the Democratic Republic Studies Center.

Dr. Youssef SALAMA, the academic director at the Democratic Republic Studies Center.

Introduction

Throughout four years of the Syrian conflict, negative results did not originate only from the destructive divisive strategies of the regime; but also from: first, the lack of understanding of such strategies by the dominating powers in the Syrian opposition. Second, not making enough endeavors to fully analyze those strategies and to create counter-strategies that promote the concept of citizenship and people, if those powers acknowledge such concepts in the first place! Moreover, the sectarian practices and sponsorship by some powers in the Syrian opposition have undermined the concepts of citizenship and people’s participation and boosted the divisive strategies of the regime.

However, the last few weeks witnessed a change that might be seen in the future as “strategic” if converted from local to national, developed, and generalized as a Syrian national practice! This change was the practices/performance of the military and political command in the province of Darra during and after what the opposition called the battle of “Al- Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham” and its positive impact on the people of Al-Sweida province. If the Syrian opposition realized their significance and impact, these local practices could turn into a major step in establishing a basis for national strategy that spreads all over the Syrian state and benefits the powers of popular movement leading them towards the national state.

In this paper, we try to conduct a field research of the following points: First, the results of the battle of “Al- Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham”; second, the impact of this development on the relation between the neighboring Daraa and Al-Sweida. And third, the gradual change in that relation towards balance and stability, and the reasons behind this change. We also take interest in exploring the details of the battle in order to contrast between the strife-targeting strategies of the regime; and the rational practices of both the Free Syrian Army and the civilian powers of Daraa that lead to eliminating those strategies and relieving worries of the neighboring Al-Sweida. We will also be looking into the effect of such rational practices on the opinion development in the province of Al-Sweida. In this research, we rely on observations and testimonies of eye-witnesses that we got through individual interviews or by communicating through social networks. We intend not to compromise the objectivity of this research as we adopted a method of observation and monitoring of the social and political cases that relate to the topic of this research.  We compared the testimonies we compiled; then we considered what we believed the most probable and objective ones; and finally, we adopted them as a basis we can rely and build on.

The battle of “Al-Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham” (21st-24th – March-2015)

Prior to this battle, the Free Syrian Army has made several attacks to take over the city of Bosra Al-Sham; these attacks were launched from two access points: Jamrin and Ma’raba but they were all unsuccessful! Hence, the FSA command realized the impossibility of taking over the city unless they attacked from three access points: Jamrin, Ma’raba, and Smad; the location of the latter has great significance! The South-Western part of Al-Sweida province is the location of three villages: Burd, Bakka, and Thibeen (Dibin) which all border the very village of Smad (Daraa province) and where Al-Assad army has set up barricades with a 3 Km sight-line distant from the latter village. SFA will have to neutralize the barricades of these three villages in order to take control over Smad and cut the supply route of Bosra: this was the scenario of the battle of “Al-Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham”, and when it was put into action, the regime forces started propagating a rumor that the armed men are attacking in order to take control over the province of Al-Sweida.

Conclusion

It is too early to tell the courses of opinion development. The final judgment about the ability of the two neighboring provinces to face the strife is related to the extent of the development and growth of the factors that lead to the change of opinion, in the province of Al-Sweida, towards revolution. Despite the significance of this battle with regard to the relation between Daraa and Al-Sweida and its impact on changing the political trend and diminishing the prestige of the regime in the province; it remains but one battle in a long series of anticipated battles. The positive practices of the armed opposition were the right reaction to the strife fabricated by the regime within the context of its endeavors to transform the revolution into the war of every one against every one and to divide Syrian citizens on sectarian, regional/zonal, and even tribal basis! However, these practices need to be developed into a strategy of a national unifying entity; which would result in promoting relief among Syrians.

Recommendations and suggestions

  1. To focus on the practices of FSA in the battle of “Al- Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham” which helped diminish the strife, and to develop them into a national strategy all over Syria.
  2. To be on the alert for the reaction of the regime after its failure to involve the province of Al-Sweida in a direct conflict with the neighboring Daraa.
  3. To be on the alert for the regime plan to establish “People’s Mobilization Army” under the command of the retired army officer “Nayef Al Akel” (although the latter denied such news). Needless to say that the negative significance of the name of this army is related to the sectarian practices promoted by Iran in Iraq.
  4. To work on establishing communication and coordination between the rebels in both Daraa and Al-Swieda. As well as forming a joint committee to expose the regime practices i.e. kidnapping and killing with the aid of corrupted and radical members of SFA, and to face attempts to stir any strife.

Thus, accidents similar to what happened on 12-April-2015 can be prevented! On that date, and contrary to the general practices of the major civilian and military powers in Daraa, two young men and a young lady (all from the Al-Sweida) were kidnapped by a group from the neighboring province! The kidnappers demanded that they will set them free in exchange of releasing some detainees by the regime forces; such operation, if repeated, would bring back the tension between the two provinces and promote the strife. Yet, “Mashaykh al-Karamah” (Sheikhs of Dignity) forced security authorities to release the above detainees, and exchanged them for the kidnapped three on 16-April-2015.

To systematically focus on the popular participation, and enable the community of Al-Sweida to politically participate with high consideration to the current circumstances.

Table of contents

Introduction

The relation between the two neighboring provinces

Regime strategy of sowing dissention between the two provinces

The general trend of public opinion in the province of Al-Sweida

An aspect of the battle of “Al- Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham”

Endeavors of civilian powers and the Free Syrian Army in Daraa to eliminate the strife between the two provinces

The impact of the battle of “Al- Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham” on the people of Al-Sweida

The change in the attitude of the people of Al-Sweida is due to several factors/reasons

Opinion samples

Applicable indications of opinion

The consequences of the battle of “Al- Qadisiyah of Bosra Al-Sham” in the province of Al-Sweida

Conclusion

Recommendations and suggestions

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