Interview with Ayman Abo Noqta – Syrian journalist and spokesperson for Ahrar Horan gathering.

The living and security conditions in southern Syria did not improve for the better after the settlement agreements with the Syrian regime entered into force in 2018, which were carried out under the sponsorship of Russia in the Daraa and Suwayda.

The regime did not fulfill its promises and did not abide by the provisions of the agreements, but instead worked to implement a retaliatory policy against the people for their refusal to get involved in the killing of the Syrian people and their evasion of compulsory and reserve conscription and the failure to join the ranks of its forces.

The regime also exploited these agreements to dismantle southern Syria’s areas and facilitate their subjection to its security grip. Its security apparatus, specifically the Military Intelligence Division, followed specific instructions to recruit militants and groups involved in violations against civilians.

Russia and Iran have worked to attract young people, recruit them, support them with weapons and money, and issue security cards to them to destabilize the situation and spread chaos and the spread of killings, kidnappings, and arrests on one hand, on the other hand, also to take advantage of them as mercenaries in the conflict in Libya or to work in the drug trade and smuggling across the border.

This led to repeated protests, denunciations, and popular rejection by the people, the emergence of many demonstrations, the cutting off of secondary and primary roads in southern Syria, and even the road between Suwayda and the capital, Damascus.

In this context, The Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity (SACD) recorded an interview with journalist Ayman Abo Noqta to find out the latest developments in southern Syria.

When Ayman was asked about the current situation in southern Syria, he indicated that the situation was the same four years ago after the settlement agreement in the south area, which was sponsored by the international community in this strategic region of Syria.

He talked about continuous attempts by the security apparatus to recruit local groups from Suwayda Governorate, which is considered a human reservoir, about Iran’s interference and support for recruitment through the National Defense militias, and what these groups have brought about during the past four years has changed their behavior and approach, as kidnappings have become systematic between Daraa and As-Suwayda. This is what fueled strife between the two neighboring governorates, in fact.

Ayman commented on the recent events in the city of Suwayda and reported that the regime had said that the regime recruited security cells and a local group through military intelligence to subject the area to the security grip by creating tensions and a state of security chaos. These repeated attempts were met with public rejection and anger.

Ayman also confirmed that the regime and its allies had pursued a policy of collective punishment and revenge against the people for their refusal to join the ranks of its forces and militias, pointing out that there is a common interest between the regime, Russia, and Iran to pass their projects in this strategic area.