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Ex-FSA fighters recruited by Damascus to fight opposition in northern Syria

Syrian government forces are resorting to former Free Syrian Army fighters who reached reconciliation agreements with the regime, in its offensive in northern Syria.
A Syrian government soldier walks past strewn mortar shells in the village of Qalaat al-Madiq, some 45 kilometres northwest of the central city of Hama, on May 17, 2019. - Syrian government forces a week prior had recaptured the northwestern town on the southwestern edge of the jihadist-controlled Idlib region, from around which jihadists and allied rebels were launching rockets on their Russian ally's key airbase. The capture of the town of Qalaat al-Madiq comes after weeks of intensified air strikes and s

ALEPPO, Syria — In the battles against the armed opposition in the northern Hama countryside, south of Idlib province, the Syrian regime is recruiting fighters of opposition factions who have reconciled with Damascus in recent years, some from the southern provinces of Daraa, Damascus and Quneitra, and others from Homs province in central Syria.

The Syrian government forces have recruited thousands of fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions who have reached settlements with the regime in the areas where the opposition was defeated in 2017-18, namely in eastern Ghouta in Rif Dimashq and in the provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Homs.

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