by Isabel Nassief
Despite limited media coverage, Deraa is one of the most contested battlefronts in Syria. Deraa province, where the uprising began, has been second only to Damascus in the number of kinetic incidents throughout the month of September. In addition to giving insight into the current state of play between regime and rebel forces in the war, the unfolding dynamics among rebel groups in Deraa serve as indicators for how the armed opposition is taking form in Syria’s southern front. Coordinated, sophisticated operations in Deraa demonstrate the continued capacity for rebel collaboration, as well as a shift in the power dynamics among the various groups operating in the province. Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) in particular has emerged as a prominent player. Jabhat al-Nusra’s prominence in Deraa, particularly their willingness to work with civilian governance structures, indicates that the group has been able to adapt to the specific local conditions present in this conflict arena.
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