Fighters in Syria's Daraa ready for anti-Islamic State operations
They have closed main and secondary roads and set up checkpoints across the city in Daraa province in preparation for a combing operation, a local source told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. Tannoys across the city broadcast on Saturday that a new curfew had been imposed until further notice.
The move comes amid increased clashes in the region between former opposition fighters and IS members, and recent attacks include a suicide bombing by IS on Friday that killed four people.
The operation will reportedly extend to the adjacent Tariq Al-Saad neighbourhood, where dozens of IS members are believed to be stationed, as local fighters plan to carry out the mission alone without regime assistance.
Researchers say recent attacks point to the Syrian regime aiding and encouraging IS operations in the Daraa area.
"There is a general conviction in the south, that what is labelled as IS is actually a cover for the regime security services’ activities," Ahmed Abazid, a researcher of Islamist organisations told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Daraa province was one of the main strongholds of the Syrian opposition after the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime broke out in 2011.
However, it reverted to regime control following a Russian-supported regime offensive in 2018 and has remained unstable since, with kidnappings and murders frequently taking place.