In a recent article in Syrian Observer, 4 August Analyst: Russian Officer Expelled Syrian Defence Minister from Daraa the author gives an explanation why the incursion forces acted as they did. (I)
Hamza al-Hourani, Syrian refugee does not completely agree with the article by Mr. Ahmed Rahal concerning his view of why Russian military used the tactics they did in Daraa.
“What really happened in Daraa is that from May 2021, and after the presidential elections, which Russia was the official sponsor of, the Daraa governorate revolted against the Assad regime, Iran and Russia. Thousands demonstrated against this election farce.
Russia brought a new Russian military commander (Assad Al laah) to take over the military file of the south and the people of Daraa and they threatened to bring in Iranian militias and storm the areas of Daraa al-Balad if it did not hand over the entirety of Daraa to the authority of the Syrian regime.
The people did not respond to these demands, and as a result, the Iranian militias and others began to infiltrate Daraa with many military personal. Ten days ago, these military forces, estimated at thousands of soldiers, with tanks and cannons, began attempts to storm Daraa.
Daraa’s revolutionaries were able to hold on against these violent attacks with their light weapons and their estimated number of only 200 fighters. There were one or two attempts a day to break into Daraa, but they did not succeed in imposing control over Daraa.
Russia’s role was to negotiate with the people of Daraa in the morning order to pressurize them to surrender, and when the meeting ended in failure, the Iranian forces began a violent military attack. This is what prompted Russia not to use military aviation or to issue any statement supporting the battle on the ground. To this day, Russia is still procrastinating in the negotiations, but Iran is urgently trying to take control of Daraa.
The reason why Russia did not use aviation is the armistice agreement of 2018. This agreement was sponsored by the United States, Jordan, and Israel. Under the armistice agreement of 2018, Iranian militias are not allowed to be present in southern Syria, which Russia was supposed to guarantee.
But Russia is trying to create a new situation in Daraa to strengthen its position vis-à-vis America and Israel in other regional files.
What happened during the last two days, when the Assad regime, Iran and Russia were shocked by the strength of the rebels in Daraa, and that they could not resolve the battle militarily without the intervention of Russian aviation, the Syrian Defence Minister went to Daraa to change the plans of the incursion.
He wanted to involve new elements in the battle, and threatened to meet with the negotiating committee of the Daraa that he intends to wipe Daraa off the Syrian map, and make of its people an example to the peoples of the whole world, in a sign from him that they want to commit massacres that history has not witnessed before.
The Assad regime and militias tried to storm and failed again. International pressure began to increase on Russia as the guarantor of calm in the south. Russia began to fidget and its dreams of controlling Daraa by Iran were shattered, and the equation on the ground changed.
The Russian officer (Asadullah) was replaced, and the new officer promised to end the war on Daraa. Today, Russia was supposed to end the military campaign on Daraa. About two hours ago, Russia said that the meeting was postponed until to tomorrow, amid the people’s fear of a violent incursion that the Iranian militias would launch tonight before a new agreement was concluded tomorrow.
According to the leaks that I received from the meeting of the Minister of Defence and the commanders of the military teams with the Russian officer, they were not expelled by the Russian officer, but he gave them 24 hours to fully storm Daraa. And he threatened them that if the matter was not done within 24 hours, Russia would be forced to stop the military campaign on Daraa.
This is why the new military commander acted as he did.”