A former rebel commander that ordered the November 8 attack on Syrian troops in the town of Karak in the eastern Daraa countryside has been assassinated.
The attack targeted a checkpoint in Karak. Five Syrian service members, including Lt. Col. Sohan Othman, were killed in the attack. Six other service members were kidnapped, only to be freed a few hours later.
Local sources in Daraa confirmed that the mastermind behind the attack, Akef Abdo al-Zaki, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in the front of his house in Karak late on December 7. Al-Zaki’s 16-year old son, Mohamad, was also killed in the attack.
Al-Zaki was the commander of a local Free Syrian Army faction known as Eastern Karak Martyrs. In 2018, he joined the reconciliation process. However, he reportedly continued being involved in criminal activities, mainly ransom-kidnapping.
No side has claimed responsibility for the assassination of al-Zaki so far. However, opposition activists believe that the Syrian intelligence was behind the shooting.
The checkpoint, which was attacked by al-Zaki and his militants, was manned by officers of the Air Force Intelligence Directorate. The security force is highly-active in Daraa.
Following the attack, the Damascus government and locals in Karak agreed to restart the reconciliation process in the town. The Russian Military Police and the Russian-backed 8th Brigade, a unit of the 5th Corps that’s dedicated for former rebels, facilitated the agreement.
As of December 9, the situation in Karak is calm and the reconciliation process is holding up.
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