Pro-Assad militias battle each
other in Qalamoun: activists

Nearly 20 people were arrested for drug trafficking following the firefight.


BEIRUT – Two fighting groups loyal to the Syrian regime clashed with each other in a town situated in the mountainous Qalamoun region near the border with Lebanon, according to activist media.


A pro-opposition group covering developments in Yabrud claimed that a disagreement between National Defense Force members and an armed group affiliated with the paramilitary organization “turned from a verbal dispute into a clash” on Tuesday afternoon.


The General Commission of Yabrud claimed further that the fighting was linked to the local drug trade, saying in its report that “nearly 20 people were arrested on charges of trafficking hashish [and other drugs].”

“Three people were hospitalized for light and medium injuries,” the report added.


The activist group also said Syrian military forces erected checkpoints and closed roads in the town’s Salhiya district, where the arrests occurred.


A local media activist identifying himself as Jamal Qalamouni also said that a firefight erupted in the town, telling the pro-rebel 7al.me outlet that Syria’s military security apparatus had to intervene to put an end to the clash between the militias.


However, he did not offer an explanation on why the fighting erupted.


The pro-opposition Al-Etihad press also covered the incident, saying that the clashes lasted for two hours, after which a “sizeable military security” force deployed in the town, raided homes and conducted thorough checks on passersby at checkpoints.


Hezbollah troops backed by the Syrian army and militias seized Yabrud on March 16, 2014 amid the Shiite party’s blistering offensive that routed rebels from their positions along the M5 highway near the Lebanese-Syrian border.


NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report.

Syria's Yabrud. (Facebook/General Commission of Yabrud)

Three people were hospitalized for light and medium injuries.