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Failed Attempts to Unify Opposition in Ghouta | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Boys play near the remains of damaged buildings in the rebel-held town of Douma in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, on Saturday. | REUTERS

Beirut- Jaish al-Islam’s announcement on Saturday that it agrees to dissolve itself and integrate into the Damascus Military Council could not succeed to end division between its militants and Faylaq al-Rahman and to form a unified opposition national army, therefore, putting an end to an initiative that aims to unify factions in Damascus’ eastern Ghouta.

This failure came after Failaq al-Rahman officials doubted the intentions of Jaish al-Islam, at a time when regime forces escalated their military attacks in the area, with an aim to narrow the presence of opposition forces.

Last Saturday, Jaish al-Islam rebel group has announced its agreement to dissolve itself and to integrate into the Syrian opposition national army.

A source from Jaish al-Islam said the initiative “ends a long division in Ghouta, and helps to unify the fronts and prevent regime forces from benefiting from the situation and fight each faction as an isolated force.”

However, this announcement failed to end division between the two groups to form a unified opposition national army and prevent regime forces from terminating their presence in the Ghouta area, sources from the city said.

In a linked development, Bashar Assad’s regime withdrew on Sunday the security privileges given to all militias and security apparatuses, operating under the auspices of the Interior Ministry.

An informed source from Damascus told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Ali Mamlouk, the head of Syria’s National Security Bureau intelligence service, sent a cable to head of the military police and asked him to order his militants to withdraw any security missions issued by whichever party except the National Security Bureau.”

The source said that this decision is effective as of July 3, 2017.

The cable also said that the Russian forces, Hezbollah militants and members of the Revolutionary Guards were not involved in the decision.