A number of Syrian regime military divisions – the 4th, 5th, 9th and 15th- along with militias backed by Iran (such as the Syrian National Party, al Radwan Brigades, the Hajj Abu Turab Brigades, Lewaa al Rasoul al A’zam Brigade, Osoud al Iraq Brigade), have seized control of dozens of civilian homes since July 27, 2021 in areas of Gharz, al Shayyah and al Nakhla in farms to the south and east of the city of Daraa, in addition to others in al Dahiya area and the al Manshiya neighborhood of Daraa city. This came after civilian residents fled from these areas as the forces entered them and turned them into the front lines for clashes between Syrian regime forces and affiliated militias on one hand, and fighters from the area on the other. The forces stationed in those homes and farms turned them into military bases and headquarters, using them as centers for launching attacks targeting the besieged area (the Daraa al Balad area, Tareeq al Sadd neighborhood and Daraa camp), and used these bases to form a cordon around the besieged area, surrounding it from the east, west and south.
On August 16 and 17, 2021, Syrian regime forces and affiliated militias also seized a number of civilian homes on the outskirts of al Teira village in the western suburbs of Daraa and turned them into military bases, with military vehicles being brought in to provide support.
Syrian Network for Human Rights notes that the Syrian regime forces’ and affiliated militias’ storming of these areas caused the displacement of thousands of civilians, who headed to safer areas in the Daraa al Mahatta and Daraa al Balad areas of Daraa city. After seizing control of the houses, the forces and militiamen looted them and took the stolen contents to the forces’ quarters in al Dahiya area in Daraa city. We in the Syrian Network for Human Rights condemn the forcible seizure of civilians’ homes by Syrian regime forces and affiliated militias, and the operations to turn these properties into military bases and headquarters. We also stress that the seizure and looting of property is a systematic strategy followed by these forces which is applied in all areas controlled by them. The international community must enable the immediate return of the forcibly displaced persons, stop the causes of further displacement, and take effective steps to ensure that the displaced are able to return to their homes, by accelerating the process of a political transition according to a strict timetable which must not exceed six months.
Photo taken by activists on August 9, 2021, shows one of the homes over which Syrian regime forces seized control in the southern farms of Daraa city.