On January 19, Security Office of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Eastern Ghouta captured a cell of Jaysh al-Islam that was planning to assassinate commanders of HTS, according the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a.
A security source of HTS told Iba’a that the cell commander confessed that they were planning to use remotely controlled magnetic IEDs to target the cars of several HTS commanders in Eastern Ghouta upon commands from “Abu Samir Atuan”, a security officer of Jaysh al-Islam.
Iba’a also revealed that a similar cell of Jaysh al-Islam was captured by HTS after they had tried to assassinate an HTS fighter in Saqba district east of the Syrian capital, Damascus, with an IED few weeks ago.
The tension between Jaysh al-Islam and HTS in Eastern Ghouta erupted in April 2017 when HTS and its ally, US-backed Faylaq al-Rahman, attacked several positions of Jaysh al-Islam in the northern part of the region.
During the clashes Jaysh al-Islam killed over 60 fighters of HTS and captured dozens others. Later on December 17, 2017 Syrian opposition activists revealed that Jaysh al-Islam executed 45 captives of HTS.
In response to the execution of its fighters, HTS launched a campaign against all Jaysh al-Islam supporters in its area which led to further tension between the two armed groups.
Observers believe that this high level of tension could lead to another armed conflict between Jaysh al-Islam and HTS in Eastern Ghouta soon.