Violence Erupts in Southern Syria’s Daraa Province, Leaving 12 Dead: War Monitor’s Report

BEIRUT, Syria – Southern Syria’s Daraa province witnessed a tragic incident, with 12 individuals losing their lives following a deadly explosion that claimed the lives of a group of children a day earlier.

Daraa, known as the birthplace of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, fell under government control in 2018 after a ceasefire agreement supported by Russia. Since then, the province has been plagued by deteriorating living conditions and ongoing security chaos, leading to frequent clashes and killings.

According to a war monitor, the violence erupted after an explosive device planted by an armed group leader, Ahmed al-Labbad, went off in Sanamayn, resulting in the deaths of eight children. Labbad, accused by rivals, denied involvement in planting the device. The monitor, based in Britain and relying on sources within Syria, reported the denial.

The situation escalated as a rival armed group, led by an individual connected to the Islamic State group and now associated with military intelligence, clashed with Labbad’s group in Sanamayn. The confrontation led to casualties on both sides, with Labbad’s house being torched, resulting in the deaths of his family members and group members. Additionally, drugs were discovered at the house, and the clashes continued.

State media did not immediately report on the violence that transpired on Sunday. Syrian state news agency SANA, citing a police source, provided a different account of Saturday’s blast, attributing the incident to “terrorists” and reporting a lower death toll.

The civil war in Syria, sparked by government repression of peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2011, has left over half a million people dead and caused extensive damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure. The conflict in Daraa province continues to see attacks, clashes, and assassinations, including those claimed by the Islamic State, involving various factions and groups in the region.