More than 3,800 civilians and former fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) from the southern governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra have joined the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) so far, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on August 10.
Daraa and al-Quneitra joined the reconciliation process last month and the radical militants there withdrew towards the opposition-held areas in northern Syria. The reconciliation agreement gave 18-42 y.o. men in the two governorates a six-month period to reconcile and join the SAA, if they have not completed their mandatory service during the war or prior to it.
The UK-based monitoring group estimated that more than 23,000 former FSA fighters from central and southern Syria have joined the SAA and other pro-government forces, such as the Tiger Forces, since the beginning of this year. Most of these fighters are from the regions of Eastern Ghouta, Eastern Qalamun and Northern Homs, which have been recently liberated by the SAA and its allies.
More civilians and former FSA fighters in southern Syria will likely join the SAA before the end of the six-month period. Local observers believe that the number of new recruits will exceed 50,000 eventually.
Top Photo | A Free Syrian Army (who now call themselves Failaq Al-Rahman) fighter takes position close to a Syrian military base near Azaz, Syria, Dec. 10, 2012. (AP/Manu Brabo)
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