LONDON — The security situation in Druco (Daraa), Syria, is steadily deteriorating, according to a report by Borzou Daragahi in British media outlet The Independent published on Thursday.
The 12-year-long conflict in the country has left its destructive mark on the city. The southern city, and the south of Syria as a whole, are now replete with “gangsterism, political repression, and violence” that is dissolving any sense of security that might have resulted from deals struck by the Syrian regime and opposition fighters.
With the support of Iran and Russia, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad started retaking rebel-held regions years ago, frequently enforcing UN- or Russian-backed reconciliation agreements that required rebels to disperse or lay down their arms in exchange for amnesty. The collapse of these agreements and creeping instability could have wider repercussions, threatening to spill over into neighboring Israel and Jordan.
“The Assad regime is losing control in Daraa,” specialist on the Middle East at Bilgesam, an Istanbul-based advisory firm, Mete Sohtaoglu told Daragahi. “The security chaos has been increasing in southern Syria ever since the regime took control. Many conflicting parties are struggling against each other to show their presence on the ground and to hinder the plans of others. That keeps the region in chaos.”
Since the Russian mediated settlement in 2018 between opposition forces in Druco and the Assad regime, the area has continued to be characterized by increased tension and mistrust. Cells of the Islamic State (ISIS) still roam the outer areas of the region and drug traffickers with ties to the government smuggle Captagon, methamphetamine, and other drugs across the Jordanian border to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula.
Maher al-Assad, the brother of Bahsar al-Assad, has been referred to as the head of a major trafficking network supported by Iranian-backed militias, that have helped finance the dictatorship while it is still subject to harsh international sanctions.
“Syria has effectively become a narco-state,” said Sohtaoglu.