The Syrian regime continues the “settlement” operations in Deir ez-Zor province in the east of the country, and arrived Thursday morning at the fields described as “the capital of the Iranian militias”, according to previous reports by the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” and local and Western media.
This name is given to the city due to the large number of militias operating in it, which in turn receive direct support from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, led by the local “Sayeda Zainab” militia, the “National Defense”, “Hezbollah”, “Fatemiyoun”, Zainabiyoun”.
The Syrian news agency “SANA” stated that the “settlement” began in the center of the city of Al-Mayadin, located in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, adding that it is taking place “with the coordination of the concerned authorities within the framework of the comprehensive process for the people of the province.”
The agency indicated that the current step came after more than seven thousand people joined the “comprehensive settlement”, which was launched eight days ago in the gymnasium in the city center of Deir ez-Zor.
The current “settlements” are the first of their kind witnessed on the West Bank of the Euphrates River, and it is remarkable that they are taking place in the presence of security and military officers in the Syrian regime, led by Major General Hussam Louka, head of the General Intelligence Department.
Luqa had previously supervised the settlements that took place in the governorate of Daraa in the south of the country, and before that in the northern countryside of Homs and the surrounding areas in the countryside of the capital, Damascus, until he was called the “engineer of settlement deals.”
What is the purpose of the fields?
The official version of the Syrian regime indicates that the “settlements” will not be limited to a specific area in Deir ez-Zor, but will extend to all areas in it, starting with the city and moving to Al-Mayadin, Al-Bukamal, and the villages and towns located between them.
Looking at the general picture of al-Mayadin, which was formed many years ago, questions about the Syrian regime’s goal of “settlements”, especially since this city is the most prominent center for the activity of the Iranian militias, and therefore the majority of the young people residing in it are either affiliated with it or have other connections.
The Syrian researcher at the “Al-Sharq Center for Studies”, Saad al-Shari’, believes that the current “settlements” fall within the “Russian strategy, in an attempt by Moscow to penetrate more into the West Bank of the Euphrates River, especially in the three cities: Deir ez-Zor, Al-Mayadin, and Al-Bukamal.”
The street spoke to Al-Hurra website about several remarkable points regarding this process, the first of which is that the whole of Deir ez-Zor, especially the western bank of the Euphrates, has no defectors or were previously with the opposition factions.
The reason for this is that the Syrian regime forces took control of the area after military operations against ISIS, and not against opposition formations.
The street believes that “Russia wants to increase its influence and control over the West Bank, but it will face strong competition with the Iranian militias that control strategic locations.”
According to the street: “The biggest challenge to these settlements will be in Al-Mayadeen and later in Al-Bukamal, since both cities are strongholds of the Iranian militias. These militias have military, administrative and security headquarters.”
The “settlement” operations are a Russian project par excellence, which Moscow launched many years ago, especially after controlling the areas that were in the hands of the armed opposition factions, such as Eastern Ghouta and the countryside of Homs Governorate, and finally in Daraa Governorate, in the south of the country.
This project targets those wanted for security and criminal cases, in addition to defectors from compulsory and reserve service in the Syrian army, provided that each person who goes through the stipulated stages is given a “settlement card” that allows him to move within the areas of the country that are originally under the control of the Syrian regime, and thus stop the security research that was issued against him years ago.
Control in Deir ez-Zor governorate is divided between the Syrian regime forces and their allies on the one hand, and the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) backed by the International Coalition on the other, and the Euphrates River is the dividing line between the two parties’ areas of control.
It is noteworthy that the “settlements” come in the context of field developments on the ground, as they came after Russia’s repeated attempts to enter the areas of the western countryside of the province, and coincide with the military expansion of its forces in the countryside of Hasaka and Raqqa provinces.
The Syrian journalist, Firas Allawi, confirms the talk of researcher Saad Al-Share’, noting that “the Syrian regime is building its current policy in the region on one model, which is an attempt to restore control. This policy is supported by the Russian vision.”
Allawi told Al-Hurra: “The Russians entered Syria to achieve two goals: the first is to restore the regime’s control, and then rehabilitate it, and here settlements fall under the last goal.”
He considered that “the settlements are a kind of restoration of geographical and demographic control, rather than military control,” ruling out that there will be any hidden clash between Moscow and Tehran, saying: “On the contrary, the Iranians want such kind of settlements in order to establish social control in the areas in which they spread.” In which”.
For his part, the spokesman for the “reconciliation committees in Syria”, Omar Rahmoun, says that “the settlement process will continue throughout Syria,” to be implemented in the northwestern Idlib governorate.
Rahmon, who resides in Damascus, considered in an interview with Al-Hurra that “the settlement path in Deir ez-Zor is a service to the people, and at the same time it will open the door wide to absorb the area east of the Euphrates, which is witnessing pressures that will lead it to return to settlement and reconciliation.”
Since the beginning of 2020, the city of Al-Mayadin has witnessed several meetings between leaders of the “Revolutionary Guard” and dignitaries and tribal sheikhs in Deir ez-Zor governorate, and all the offers received by the latter were linked to the necessity of seeking to attract the largest proportion of the region’s youth to return to their cities and villages, whether inside or outside Syria. of refugees.
The focus is on Al-Mayadin, as it enjoys a strategic location near the Syrian-Iraqi border, and on the other hand, it lives in conditions that observers see as “fertile” for the expansion of Iranian influence and the achievement of its goals, whether at the military or social levels.
What about Hossam Louka?
Meanwhile, the head of the General Intelligence Department in Syria, Major General Hossam Louka, emerges as a main party supervising the “settlement” operations from the south to the north and east.
Al-Luqa, who was born in the Khanasir area in the southern countryside of Aleppo, did not have any media appearances two years ago, to suddenly top the front today, first in Daraa Governorate and currently in Deir Ezzor, the most complex Syrian geographies in terms of the parties of influence spread in it or based on the developments that it has experienced since 2011.
Luqa has been heading the General Intelligence in Syria, since 2019, and had played a prominent role in controlling the Al-Waer neighborhood in Homs city in 2017, according to an agreement sponsored by Russia, which stipulated the exit of a large part of civilians and fighters to northern Syria.
In September 2020, the United States of America had included Major General Luqa on its sanctions list, along with the birth of a new commander of the “Special Forces”, and Hazem Younis Qarful, the former “governor of the Central Bank of Syria”.
His name was also included in the European Union’s sanctions list, “for his participation in the torture of demonstrators and the civilian population.”
On the thirteenth of November, Luqa’s name was repeated a lot, while he appeared among the security figures who attended the “intelligence forum” that was held in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, according to photos published by Egyptian media.