The southern Syrian province of Deraa has witnessed instability in the security situation for quite some time, with assassinations occurring on a regular basis. One focal point of security incidents has been the northern town of al-Sanamayn (about which see a prior interview I did here with the Amn Askari auxiliary groups in al-Sanamayn). The Syrian army has now launched an assault operation targeting the insurgents in the northwestern neighbourhood of the town. In response, the insurgents raised an appeal for help, which has resulted in multiple security incidents across Deraa province today.
To offer a local perspective on the matter, I interviewed a person in west Deraa countryside who has been involved with the auxiliary forces of the Russian-backed V Corps in the region. The interview is slightly edited with the consent of the interviewee. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: There are security incidents today?
A: Yes: al-Sanamayn, Tafas, Sahm al-Jowlan, Sheikh Sa'ad.
Q: What are the reasons?
A: Because of the government's attempts to assault al-Sanamayn, the people and revolutionaries issued a call for help to the people of Hawran, and most of the areas of Hawran have heeded the call for help.
Q: And what are the aims of the operations? To deter the government from assaulting al-Sanamayn?
A: Correct. All of the checkpoints in the area have been targeted.
Q: Some of the people who are assaulting the government's checkpoints are affiliated with the auxiliary groups of V Corps and 4th Division?
A: The checkpoints are affiliated with the army or Amn Askari [military security/intelligence] and air [intelligence].
Q: Yes, but I mean the people who are assaulting these checkpoints: some of them are affiliated with the [V] Corps and 4th [Division]?
Q: Right. Do you fear the response of the government?
A: No. The government is the one afraid that all Hawran will rise against it. Now there is a meeting at the level of all Hawran.
Q: Yes, and the auxiliary groups affiliated with the Corps and 4th are refraining from participating in the incidents?
A: Correct. And there are among them those who secretly work against the government.
Q: In your personal opinion what is the best solution in these circumstances?
A: That all Hawran should stand as one man so that the government submits to our demands, and so we do not become easy pickings.
Q: And the demands are? For example releasing detainees?
A: Currently: retreating from assaulting al-Sanamayn, releasing detainees, and stopping the arbitrary arrests.