The brigadier general Talal Al-Ali, head of the Saasa Branch of Military Intelligence, threatened the people of Umm Batina town in central Quneitra countryside on Thursday evening stating that if his demands were not met, he would storm the countryside of Umm Batina.
According to local sources, the demands included deporting 10 families from the town to northern Syria, handing over the weapons in the town, and entering the town to search a number of homes and farms. The regime then brought in military reinforcements, including heavy weapons from the Saasa Branch and Brigade 90 towards the town; provoking families to flee towards surrounding villages on Thursday.
On May 1st, unknown assailants attacked a regime military checkpoint near Umm Batina town, resulting in several casualties and injuries. In retaliation, Assad’s forces threatened the residents of Umm Batina, to leave or be taken by force. On May 2nd, the Central Committee delegation from the Daraa governorate and notables from the town of Umm Batina, met with a delegation of the Syrian regime and Russian officers to discuss the developments but failed to reach a solution.
During the meeting, several proposals were put forward by the regime forces; namely registering the names of those wishing to exit towards the north. The committee rejected the proposals and requested the regime to free a number of detainees from the town and regulate the affairs of those who live there.
Activists deny that any of the townspeople had carried out any of the attacks, and accused the Assad regime of deception in order to instigate military action upon the town of Umm Batina and initiate a hostile take-over.
After another round of negotiations between notables from Um Batina and the Russian occupation, on May 15 they agreed on the following:
1. 30 young men and their families will be forcibly displaced from Um Batina towards the liberated north following Thursday.
2. Hadi Al-Saeed and Qusay Al-As’ad will be released from prison when the busses will head towards Idlib. The prisoners will be received in Kanaker town.