Monday, July 13, 2020

Some members of US-supported militia group in Syria defect.

US-supported rebel militia group Maghawir al_Thawra appears to be losing some members along with their families who are fleeing into Assad government territory. There have been two recent group defections.

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Those fleeing may be associated with smuggling drugs
The group was centered around the US base al-Tanf in a desert eastern area near the border with Iraq and near Jordan. The area had become a haven for the group who did little but hang out with US arms at the border. However, at least one report suggests that those fleeing to Assad territory had been smuggling drugs.
Some rebel sources said that Samir al-Khidr along with several members of the militia and their families fled to the Assad-held city of Palmyra from the US al-Tanf base. Even though the US has concentrated upon keeping most of its troops remaining in Syria in oil producing regions they have remained at al-Tanf.
The Maghawir al Thawra narrative
There are still members of the militia at al Tanf who had their own interpretation of what had happened. They said in a tweet about al-Khidr: “He left because he could not smuggle drugs in this area due to the efforts of Maghaweir al-Thowra in interdicted drugs. We allowed him to leave with his family, as we did not want to get in a conflict with him because all the women and children with him.” The militia fled with US weapons and vehicles. This is not the first defection but follows on an earlier one this month. However, there are still a number of the approximately one hundred fighters in the militia around the al-Tanf base.
One report claims the US is attempting to brand the group as drug smugglers, and claims that those fleeing are doing so because the US would not let them get away with smuggling on Jordan's border.
The appended video purports to show the convoy of defectors defecting into Assad-controlled territory. If the video is correct then quite a number of US vehicles were taken as well as armaments. This must have been the earlier defection judging by the date.

Previously published in the Digital Journal

Israeli drones attack a vehicle near Syria Lebanon border

(April 16) Israeli drones fired two missiles at a vehicle in southern Syria on Wednesday near the border between Syria and Lebanon. Israel said the attack target Hezbollah member. Early reports claim there were no Hezbollah casualties.

Israel claims that Hezbollah is increasingly present in south Syria
Hezbollah, a Shi'ite political party and militant group based in Lebanon, is a target of Israeli attacks along with other Shi'ite groups in Syria. Israel argues that the entrenchment of Hezbollah and other Shi'ite group inside areas controlled by the Assad government poses a threat to Israel's long term military interests in the region. There are likely to be more attacks after these.
Hezbollah has claimed that its members managed to escape the attack. An anonymous source told AFP: "An Israeli drone first struck near a car transporting Hezbollah members The passengers got out before it was then directly hit in a second strike." The source added that there were no casualties.
Syrian state media report
Syrian state media
 confirmed that there was a drone attack by Israel on the vehicle but did not mention that there were Hezbollah members in it. Their report said that the attack damaged the vehicle but everyone inside survived.
Israel claims Hezbollah working with Assad
The drone attack came only a week after Israel's military released video it claims shows Syrian officers and Hezbollah members working together on the edge of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Israel has warned for some time about what It calls Iran and Hezbollah's "entrenchment" in southern Syria close to Israeli army positions. Israel has carried out several drone attacks near the Golan heights targeting Hezbollah fighters and Syrians working with them.


Previously published in the Digital Journal

Some members of US-supported militia group in Syria defect.

US-supported rebel militia group Maghawir al_Thawra appears to be losing some members along with their families who are fleeing into Assad ...