Over 50 Killed in Syrian Rebel Infighting Around Damascus

Jaish al-Islam Accuses Rivals of Rejecting HNC Initiative

by Jason Ditz, May 17, 2016

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, fighting has once again picked up in the area around the Syrian capital of Damascus, with at least 50 people killed today in fighting in the Eastern Ghouta region.

The fighting is between the Jaish al-Islam, a major faction within the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and the Faylaq al-Rahman, a union of two other rebel factions, which Jaish al-Islam attempted to absorb back in February.

Faylaq al-Rahman controls towns closer to Damascus in the region, and Jaish al-Islam accused them of rejecting an HNC initiative to end fighting in the area. The terms of the initiative were not made public, but almost certainly favored Jaish, a major ally of the Saudis.

The Observatory reported that Jaish al-Islam had refused to withdraw from a town seized previously, and which they’d agreed to leave two weeks ago, and that they were the ones who launched the new offensive.

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