Potential risk of reemergence of Daesh in south of Syria


Terrorist activities have recently been increasing in the south of Syria, particularly in the province of Daraa, with the strong presence of Daesh, which appears to be using the situation to re-emerge. The current struggle within the rebel militia Maghaweir Al Thawra is one of these that Daesh is attempting to benefit from.

This critical situation has pushed the Syrian army to launch a counter terrorism operation, off the back of eliminating seven members of the group Khalid Bin Al Walid last September, a group which is considered directly affiliated to Daesh in southern Damascus. However, this confrontation will likely escalate the whole situation as Daesh is ready to counterattack in various ways. This may be behind the bloody bus bombing that took place recently killing 18 Syrian soldiers in a Damascus suburb and wounded at least 27 others.

This wave of terrorist attacks will add more pressure on Jordan and its northern borders. The struggle to control the provinces in the south of Syria will also impact drug routes and could increase the flow of captagon into Jordan in the coming weeks and potentially grow the routes from inside Syria. This means that Jordan could face an increasing challenge on top of the existing threat from the drug trade, which is not easy to manage on its own. Adding the risk of growing terrorist groups and continued escalation near its borders will make things even more difficult and complex.

While counter terrorism operations targeting the Daesh presence in the southern areas of Syria have been ongoing for more than two years, and there has been some success, but the increasing presence of Daesh in the Daraa province increases the possibility of continuous terrorist activities. In addition, the issues with the Al Rukban camp could reappear as the internal conflict within Maghaweir Al Thawra will impact the capacity of the group to control the situation, with the potential for conflict and power competition with Daesh to flow into the camp.

Unfortunately, the internal security in the southern provinces of Syria could seriously deteriorate, as the continuous internal struggle inside the opposition military front operating against Daesh cells in the south and southeast of Syria will weaken the capacity and efficiency of these groups to face the terrorist group and could lead to a new phase of terrorism and grow the geographic spread of instability.

Cross border criminality is currently one of the greatest challenges for the security apparatus, especially as these criminal groups are aligned and analogous with terrorist groups. However, Jordan should adopt an efficient military and intelligence strategy to counter the risk of escalation and the return of Daesh on its northern borders with a new military and intelligence strategy that anticipates the risks and keeps risks away from the Jordanian borders.

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh