On June 25, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces made a “warning pass” over the southern Syrian city of Daraa where former rebels refuse to hand over their personal arms.
According to the Horan Free League and other pro-opposition sources, a senior Russian officer responsible for the reconciliation process in Daraa asked former rebels in the southern part of Daraa city, known as Daraa al-Balad, to hand over 200 pieces of personal arms on June 23.
The step is meant to secure and stabilize Daraa city. Personal arms will be also withdrawn from government supporters in the city.
Despite this, former rebels, represented by the Daraa al-Balad Committee, rejected the Russian request. Some said that their arms are meant for self-defense, while other claimed that carrying arms is just a part of their traditions.
In response to the former rebels’ decision, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) laid a siege on Daraa al-Balad. All entrance and roads leading to this part of the city were closed.
The SAA move provoked former rebels in the northern Daraa countryside, who attacked a number of positions and checkpoints of the Syrian military and intelligence inside and around the town of Nawa. No losses were reported as a result of the attacks.
Local sources claim that the SAA may soon storm Daraa al-Balad to collect personal arms. However, this is highly unlikely. The army and its Russian allies are just pressuring former rebels to hand over their arms.
Earlier this year, Syrian warplanes made a similar “warning pass” over the western countryside of Daraa where former rebels were rejecting similar demands. This tactic eventually forced the former rebels to comply with the reconciliation process.