Cautious calm follows Al-Suwayda clashes

The city of Al-Suwayda is experiencing cautious calm following a night of tension and clashes between forces of the Damascus government and armed factions, which led to a temporary ceasefire requested by local residents to seek an agreement ensuring the withdrawal of a new security checkpoint.

Cautious calm follows Al-Suwayda clashes
24 June 2024   13:10

A cautious calm has settled over Al-Suwayda after a night of heightened tension marked by intense clashes between local factions on one side and Damascus government security forces on the other, resulting in casualties on both sides and material losses to civilian property.

According to Al-Suwayda 24, mediators from the local community have requested a temporary ceasefire from the local factions to resume negotiations with security agencies, amid assurances from mediators to strive for an agreement ensuring the removal of the new security checkpoint near Dwar Al-Anqoud, a demand strongly insisted upon by the factions.

The website quoted a source described as "knowledgeable about the negotiations," who conveyed demands for Russian guarantees regarding the withdrawal of the security checkpoint and preventing the establishment of any new checkpoints by security authorities within the area, citing a lack of trust in the role of these checkpoints.

The source further indicated varied responses conveyed by mediators on behalf of officials, ranging from some within the authority rejecting the demand for checkpoint removal, citing its establishment at the request of some Al-Suwayda residents, to others advocating for calm and requesting a deadline to reach an agreement for withdrawing the checkpoint from the city's entrance.

A source from the local factions, speaking to Al-Suwayda 24, stated that "the solution that would defuse the crisis is the return of all elements of the new checkpoint to their barracks." They added that failure to comply with this demand would escalate tensions further in the coming hours, surpassing the clashes witnessed in the city on Sunday evening.

The clashes on Sunday primarily centered around the new checkpoint vicinity and nearby security centers, including the Air Force Intelligence Division and the "Baath Party Branch" headquarters, with confrontations extending to the town of Qanawat. The State Security Branch on the Qanawat road also sustained several rocket shell impacts.

The clashes resulted in one faction member being shot in the thigh and several Damascus government forces sustaining injuries from shrapnel at the "Baath Party Branch" building caused by shells.

Negotiations will continue in the coming hours, potentially leading either to an agreement ending the tension by removing the checkpoint and withdrawing personnel to their barracks, or plunging the area into unforeseeable violence consequences if Damascus government security officials remain adamant about not withdrawing the checkpoint, according to Al-Suwayda 24.