Jaish al-Islam (JAI), Ahmad Abdo Forces and Faylaq al-Rahman militants continued their operations against the Islamic State terrorist group in Eastern Qalamoun, capturing Zubaidi and Afa’i mountains and the strategic Al-Mahasna village in the span of a week.
Thus, JAI-led forces have as managed to increase its influence zone in Eastern Qalamoun by 12 km2 and now they are preparing for a massive offensive inside the ISIS-hed territory in the Syrian desert.
According to several reliable sources, this attack is fully coordinated with the Russians and the Syrian Army. In fact, there’s a truce agreement between JAI-led forces and the Syrian Arab Army in the area for about two years. The Syrian Air Force even delivered close air support in the group’s battles against ISIS fighters back when they launched a massive assault on Dumeir last year.
However, some opposition sources talked about the al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) participation in the offensive in support of JAI which is a dangerous development. The Russians and the Syrians may consider this as a violation of the declared truce. JAI may be planning to attack Syrian Army positions after concluding its operations against the ISIS terrorists. Though, many opposition sources denied HTS’s participation in the attack.
Jaish Al-Islam supposedly launched two long-range rockets about a month ago against what it claimed were SAA positions. Exclusive sources confirmed that those rockets did not target government positions. They hit ISIS gatherings in Sakhna. JAI took this as an opportunity to show itself as an adversary of the Syrian government and gain popularity among other rebel groups.
The Islamist organization had received a number of warnings from the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance following the statement in support of the HTS operation in Jobar, east of Damascus.