Assad regime shells, imposes siege on town in Daraa province
The Syrian regime imposed a siege on the town of Jasem in the southern Syrian province of Daraa on Tuesday morning, after shelling it amid dissatisfaction over the number of weapons and money handed over by its residents.
Regime troops closed all roads leading into Jasem, preventing the entry and exit of residents, following a similar pattern of collective punishment against other Daraa towns earlier this year, The New Arab's sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has reported.
The move against Jasem comes after the regime demanded residents hand over machine guns and scores of rifles which, Abu Al-Baraa Al-Hourani, a Syrian activist from the Houran Free Group, said does not exist.
"Members of the [Daraa] security committee affiliated with the regime... demanded that the people of the city hand over 250 machine guns, within a deadline that ends at 6pm [on Tuesday]," Al-Hourani told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The siege began with missiles and bombs fired on the Daraa provincial town on Monday, seriously injuring a child, after the regime was unhappy with the number of weapons and money handed over by residents.
"A number of the city's youths burned the regime's flag on its roundabout after it was targeted by shells and the child was wounded," Al-Horani said.
Students, the sick, and workers were then stopped from leaving the town, sparking tensions in the northern part of Daraa province.
Al-Hourani said that while the heavy machine guns the regime has demanded do not exist, residents handed over 50 light weapons along with a sum of money equal to the price of 50 rifles.
The siege happened after regime forces withdrew from Jasem, alongside Russian military police, after searching and looting homes, report Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
In northwestern Syria, regime forces shelled villages and towns in rebel-held southern Idlib province with heavy artillery and missiles, including Al-Fateera, Sufuhun, Fleifel, and Kafr Aweed.