East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016)

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East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016)
Part of the Rif Dimashq Governorate campaign and the inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War
Date 18 April – 24 May 2016 (1 month and 6 days)
Location East Ghouta, Rif Dimashq Governorate, Syria
Result Ceasefire[3]
Belligerents

Jaish al-Fustat[1]

Al-Rahman Legion[2][3]

  • 1st Brigade[1]

Jaysh al-Islam

  • Air Defense Brigade[1]
Commanders and leaders
Wael Alwan (Faylaq al-Rahman spokesman)[4] Qais a-Shami (JaI spokesman)[4]
Casualties and losses
500+ fighters on both sides and 12 civilians killed[5]

The Battle of East Ghouta (April–May 2016) was an armed conflict between the rebel coalition of Jaish al-Fustat, consisting of the al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman on one side and the rebel group Jaysh al-Islam on the other in the rebel-held territories east of Damascus. Tensions between the two groups took place since March 2016, when Faylaq al-Sham expelled JaI in Zamalka after absorbing the Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union in February.[6]

Prelude – Clashes in Jisreen

On 18 April 2016, the al-Rahman Legion launched an attack on Jaysh al-Islam headquarters in the town of Jisreen, capturing the headquarter.[7]

Open conflict

Fighting starts

On 28 April, Faylaq al-Sham and Jaish al-Fustat attacked JaI positions in 6 towns in eastern Ghouta, including al-Qabun and Zamalka,[8] resulting in the former's air defence brigade defecting to Jaysh al-Islam. Ahrar ash-Sham denied involvement in the conflict and remained neutral. Due to the fighting the residents of East Ghouta demonstrated, calling for an end of rebel infighting.[1]

Attack on Misraba and ceasefire

On 8 May, Jaish al-Fustat, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Faylaq al-Rahman attacked the Jaysh al-Islam-held village of Misraba. By this time JaI mainly controls the northern areas of East Ghouta while JaN controls the south.[9] JaI also raided several pharmacies and a doctor was killed by stray bullets. By the next day, a ceasefire agreement was signed which mandated JaI to withdraw from Misraba, which would then be controlled by a neutral police force.[4] Still, despite the declared ceasefire, fighting continued and by 17 May, more than 500 fighters on both sides and a dozen civilians had been killed in the fighting in East Ghouta.[5] A new ceasefire agreement was declared on 24 May 2016.[3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "'Shameful' rebel infighting in East Ghouta leaves residents 'in a state of shock'". Syria:direct. 28 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Aron Lund, Showdown in East Ghouta, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, may 4, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Breaking: Rebel factions sign peace deal with each other in East Ghouta, Damascus
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "East Ghouta infighting over, for now: 'People are tired of both sides'". Syria:direct. 10 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Syria rebel clashes ‘leave 52 dead’ in Eastern Ghouta
  6. "Rebel allies fight each other in east Damascus: monitor". Now News. 1 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Rebel forces fight one another in rural Damascus". Al-Masdar News. 19 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Extremist rebels of Faylaq Al-Rahman captures strategic point from Jaysh Al-Islam in rural Damascus". ABNA. 30 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Rebels storm Misraba village as insurgent infighting engulfs East Ghouta". Al-Masdar News. 8 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>