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Renewed Fighting in Ghouta Deepens Opposition Crisis in Damascus | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut- Battles among major Syrian opposition factions in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta were renewed on Monday, especially between “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” and “al-Rahman Corps” from one side and “Jaysh al-Islam” from the other side, deepening the opposition’s crisis in general and threatening its presence in Damascus and its surrounding.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced that at least “20 fighters were injured in the fighting that has taken place since the dawn of Monday between the major factions of the Eastern Ghouta, and the violent clashes are still taking place between fighters of al-Rahman Corps and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham against Jaysh al-Islam in areas in the outskirts of Bait Swa, al-Aftaries, and al-Ash’aari in the Eastern Ghouta.”

The Observatory noted that the clashes have coincided with explosions that were heard as result of both parties exchanging fire.

The regime is the only one benefiting from the intensified intra-class conflict, according to Ismail al-Darani, a member of the Syrian opposition’s Revolutionary Command Council in the Rif Dimashq governorate.

Dararni pointed out that there is widespread tension in Ghouta, and medical and relief agencies have suspended their work to protest against the renewed fighting and the use of ambulances for military operations.

Local sources confirmed to the SOHR that violent fighting has caused tension and resentment among the citizens of the Eastern Ghouta, especially those who live near conflict areas, amid fears of continuation of the fighting that could cause more casualties.

Despite the conflicting information about what is happening on the ground, a source from al-Rahman Corps accused Jaysh al-Islam of striking a secret agreement with regime forces to get rid of the other factions in the neighborhoods of Damascus and Eastern Ghouta, under the pretext of fighting Nusra Front and extremists.

However, Director of Rasd Syria in Eastern Ghouta Ammar al-Hassan, who is close to Jaysh al-Islam, denied any clashes with al-Rahman Corps.

“The battle is between Jaysh al-Islam and Nusra Front in al-Aftaries and al-Ash’aari,” Hassan told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“After the elimination of the military force of al-Qaeda in Ghouta (the Nusra Front), remnants of them attacked on Monday the sites of Jaysh al-Islam, which called for an action from the latter that launched a counter-attack to get rid of them,” Hassan added.