Turkey’s efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime have fueled unease among Syria’s armed opposition groups, leading some opponents of President Bashar Al-Assad’s government to fear the end of their decade-long cause.
Last month, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad approved a 2023 draft budget of 16.5 trillion Syrian pounds. Official media celebrated the figure, a 24 percent increase from the previous year. But viewing the budget based on its value in local currency is misleading.
Infighting between rebel forces has been a recurring theme throughout the Syrian civil war, with shifting alliances between armed factions producing a trail of destruction throughout the country’s north.
On August 28, Syrian Kurdish security forces backed by the US launched an operation targeting Daesh sleeper cells in Al-Hol camp, in northeast Syria. The mission was intended to stabilize the detention facility, which holds thousands of internally displaced people and families of suspected Daesh members.
On July 27, Syrian tanks rolled into the former rebel stronghold of Tafas, in Syria’s Daraa province. The aggression, ostensibly to root out Daesh supporters, came just three days after military leaders suggested the operation could be avoided if the people they sought were voluntarily handed over.
Despite Daesh’s territorial defeat in Syria more than two years ago, the group has continued to terrorize people, particularly in the northeast. In June, Daesh sleeper cells were linked to 18 attacks and 16 deaths, on par with Daesh-linked violence in May, when 14 died in 26 attacks.
Since recapturing the largely agricultural province surrounding Damascus in 2018, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has sought to portray the capital as a haven of calm in a country riven by conflict. In addition to the city’s symbolic importance, securing Damascus and the outlying region known as rural Damascus is essential for the regime’s political rehabilitation and economic recovery.