As I have mentioned in my previous interview with the opposition faction Hizb al-Liwa' al-Souri that is based in the primarily Druze province of al-Suwayda' in southern Syria, the Counterterrorism Force (Arabic: Quwat Mukafahat al-Irhab) functions as Hizb al-Liwa' al-Souri's armed wing. Officially, the Counterterrorism Force dedicates itself to combating 'terrorism' whether in the form of criminal gangs that terrorise civilians or the Islamic State, as well as combating drug smuggling. The Force has become known in al-Suwayda' province for handing over an alleged drugs smuggler to U.S.-backed Syrian rebels in the Tanf area, and for its skirmishes with more loyalist forces in al-Suwayda' province such as the National Defence Forces.
In this exclusive interview conducted with the Counterterrorism Force's media wing on 17 January, we discuss the Counterterrorism Force's rationale for existence, the group's most notable accomplishments, the clashes with more loyalist forces, and the nature of the Islamic State threat and the problem of drugs smuggling in the province.
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