Syria’s Deraa governorate. (Photo credit: SOHR)
A mayor in a town of Syria’s southern Deraa governorate became the latest victim of a targeted assassination on Tuesday, 27 September, in a wave of targeted killings that have gripped the area since its liberation by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian armed forces in 2018.
SANA reported that Abdul Qader Mahmoud al-Ahmad, mayor of the town of al-Musayfrah, was assassinated early Tuesday morning after assailants on a motorcycle fired several shots at him.
Just yesterday, the Imam of a mosque in Tafas was shot by gunmen while with his family; he was killed on the spot, but his wife and child managed to escape with injuries.
The province has been plagued by targeted assassinations and kidnappings of civilians and government officials since the liberation of the area under Operation Basalt, which lasted from 18 June to 31 July 2018.
Operation Basalt was a military operation launched by the SAA with the support of the Russian airforce to liberate the territory from armed militants and the Islamic State extremist group, seeing swift advances by government forces.
The killings have specifically targeted people and government officials involved in the reconciliation agreement brokered by Russia between the SAA and armed rebel groups in Deraa.
The reconciliation process has been successful in de-escalating tensions across the country over the last year.
It has also led to Jordan re-opening its border crossing with Syria and the restart of trade between the two countries.
Deraa has been considered the main hub for the armed uprising against government forces in the ongoing conflict, which started in 2011.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on 1 April that 41 people were killed in Deraa during the month of March, and 117 people have been killed in the first four months of 2022 alone.
According to the local Deraa Martyrs Documentation Office, 329 people were assassinated in Deraa in 2022 alone.