17 killed in rare clashes in Syria’s Sweida
At least 17 people have been killed and dozens wounded in the southern Syrian province of Sweida in clashes between local armed groups and a ring affiliated with the Damascus security agencies, local media and a war monitoring group said.
The province managed to stay away from the Syrian civil war that has torn the country apart since 2011 but in February, heightening corruption and poor living standards led to massive protests in Sweida city, home to a majority of Druze population close to Jordanian border.
UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that ten government loyalists from the “Falhout” faction, known for its leader Raji Falhout and seven local fighters from an armed group who call themselves ‘The Men of Dignity” died in fighting on Tuesday and Wednesday in two villages of the city, and 40 people were wounded.
Tensions had risen since Monday, after the abduction of two people close to local armed groups. Residents had also been growing increasingly frustrated at government-backed fighters carrying out arbitrary detentions, random roadblocks and kidnappings for ransom, al Jazeera cited from Suwayda 24, a local media outlet.
The clashes ended when local armed groups took control of the military headquarters of Falhout faction who allegedly works for the Syrian regime’s local military security branch, Syria direct reported.
Damascus administration made no comment about the clashes.