The Assad regime is facing a challenge to its authority in southern Syria, with Druze groups in Suwayda province seizing control of the headquarters of a pro-regime militia on July 27. The Druze Men of Dignity overran the local headquarters of the Dawn Forces, affiliated with regime military intelligence, in the town of Ateel. At least 21 were reported killed n the clash—17 Dawn militiamen and four Druze, including a sheikh. Druze groups accuse the Dawn Forces of kidnappings and assassinations throughout the province. Tensions escalated in the days leading up to the Ateel clash, when Dawn militiamen abducted a local man from Shahba city, accusing him of attempts on the life of their leader Raji Falhout. The rival militias blocked roads to each others’ strongholds, and both sides took hostages. Four regime officers, including two colonels, were reportedly seized by the Men of Dignity. (EA Worldview)
Over the past year, there have been mounting signs of renewed armed struggle within regime-controlled Syria.
Photo: EA Worldview