The brigade will also be tasked with helping to oust military forces loyal to Iran. (Supplied)

By Taym Al-Ahmad

November 03, 2020

Plans are underway to oust Iranian militias from the Jordan-Syria border, IranWire has learned.

A military source told IranWire that on October 29, key Jordanian intelligence and military officials met in Amman with members of Syrian opposition forces and the Russian military to strategize how to flush out Iranian groups and protect the Syria-Jordan border.

Ahmad al-Awdah, commander of the Russian-backed 8th Brigade of the Syrian 5th Corps, and his deputy, Colonel Nasim Al-Arah, met the Jordanian officials accompanied by officers from the Russian military forces operating in Syria.

The source added that the visit followed long discussions with Jordanian officials. At the meeting it was decided that the 8th Brigade would be assigned to fight terrorist gangs and extremist cells, and protect the Syrian-Jordanian border in the governorate of Daraa, the Nasib crossing and the international Damascus-Amman highway. The brigade will also be tasked with helping to oust military forces loyal to Iran, in particular the 4th Division led by Major General Maher Al-Asad, brother of the Syrian president, which is deployed in Daraa, Quneitra, and the Air Force Intelligence’s branch.

The 8th Brigade leader Al-Awdah seeks to gain support of neighboring countries in the protection of southern Syria from Iranian-backed militias, which have made considerable and often unchecked advanced to the borders of the Golan Heights, which is occupied by Israel. The militias control a large part of the area, with the exception of the Daraa rural area, where the 8th Brigade’s officers are deployed.

From the Free Syrian Army to a Russian-Backed Brigade

According to an IranWire correspondent, in 2018, when Ahmad Al-Awdah was the commander of the Youth of Sunna Forces, one of the largest opposition factions in southern Syria’s Free Army, he fought several battles against the Iranian regime and auxiliary forces supported by Iran until a settlement was agreed that year. Following this, he hosted Russian forces in the city of Busra al-Sham, the stronghold of the brigade’s command. The agreement stipulated the delivery of heavy weapons and the retention of medium and light weapons in exchange for Al-Awdah’s troops joining the Russian-backed 5th Corps’ operations.

The correspondent added that the 8th Brigade had sustained several attacks, including the bombing on June 20 of a night bus in the town of Al-Kahil in the eastern Daraa rural area, which killed 12 people and wounded dozens. The brigade also fought against the Men of Dignity Movement, a local faction loyal to the regime, in Al-Suwayda following an attack on the headquarters of a gang that had carried out kidnappings, a battle that led to the release of people who had been kidnapped from Al-Qarya in Daraa, southwest of Al-Suwayda, and resulted in the deaths of 15 fighters on March 28. A second battle was also instigated by the Men of Dignity Movement, an act of revenge for the men who died in the first battle, in which 17 were killed and dozens others wounded. Two people from the 8th Brigade were killed and dozens were wounded

On October 30, a day after the meeting in Amman, sporadic clashes broke out between fighters from the 8th Brigade and members of the Military Security Branch and the 4th Division in the town of Saida in the eastern Daraa region. Two people were killed. In a separate incident, unidentified gunman shot and killed a member of the 4th Division in the Sabil neighborhood of Daraa city.

Iran Wire

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Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.