On Monday, the Southern Front announced a re-organization of their forces to promote “joint leadership planning and organization on the battlefield.” The statement from the Daraa-based rebels comes three days after the founding of the Victory Army in Daraa, with the participation of Jabhat a-Nusra.“Both sides are trying to spread their influence in the region,” Fursan al-Hourani, the alias of a correspondent with the Umayya Media Center in Daraa, tells Ammar Hamou.
Q. The Victory Army in Daraa was formed from several factions, except the Southern Front was absent. Why is that in your opinion?
Many reasons account for the factions of the Southern Front’s absence, the most prominent being the disputes that occurred recently between the factions of the Southern Front and Jabhat a-Nusra, when Nusra attacked one of the Free Syrian Army members and then the Southern Front issued a statement rejecting Nusra’s ideology and refusing to work with them.
Many disputes other than that occurred also, among them Nusra intending to keep all the spoils [for themselves], and despotic decisions and rulings against the Houran people. All of this stoked the fire between the two sides. Now we have arrived here with the Southern Front not working with the Victory Army, in which Nusra is considered to be among the most prominent and largest factions.
Q. The Southern Front issued a video statement Monday saying that they formed an operations room. Is this a response to the Victory Army?
The Southern Front formed several operations rooms previously according to geography or for a specific battle, such as the operations room that was formed to liberate Brigade 52. Fifty-five factions joined it. However, Monday’s statement appears to be a response to the formation of the Victory Army and it seems both sides are trying to spread their influence in the region.
We cannot forget that the formation of the operations room came also in response to the desire of the people for joint action. I think that the southern region will witness a victories race between the Victory Army and the Southern Front.
Q. Seven factions joined the Victory Army. Their role could be decisive if they open the door to other factions. What is your opinion on this?
According to the founding statement by the Victory Army, seven factions have joined. Some of them we haven’t heard of before, such as Ahyaa al-Jihad Brigade and Nawa Mujahidin Gathering. However, from another perspective, Nusra, Ahrar a-Sham, and Fatah a-Sham are large factions that have great battlefield capabilities and no one denies that. As for factions joining the Victory Army, I think that it is open, but I am ruling out factions affiliated with the Southern Front.