Clashes between gunmen supporting the Damascus regime and others opposed to it in the majority-Druze southern province of Sweida killed at least 17 people this week.
The clashes erupted on Tuesday in two villages in northern Sweida when a regime faction, the “Fajr” forces, carried out an abduction.
Tensions had already been high in the area between locals and the faction, which is led by Raji Falhout.
The tensions boiled over in wake of the abduction, sparking clashes between the faction and various local armed groups.
In the end, the groups managed to seize the Fajr’s military headquarters in the town of Ateel. The facility is affiliated with the regime’s military security agency,
Rayan Maarouf, of the Sweida24 network, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday left over ten members of the regime faction dead and 30 injured. Others turned themselves over to the local armed groups.
Five members of local armed groups were killed.
The network released the confessions of one detainee, who said: “Falhout handed us hashish and captagon and a monthly salary of 400,000 to 500,000 Syrian pounds.”
Sweida has for days been witnessing a sort of revolt against security forces affiliated with Falhout, whom locals have called a “terrorist”. They have committed kidnappings, arrested locals and promoted drug abuse.
Notably, the local armed groups, clans and regular individuals, who are not affiliated with any faction, were involved in the fighting.