On April 20, members of Jaysh al-Islam in the Eastern Qalamun region handed over loads of heavy weapons to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the freamework of the evacuation deal that was reached on April 19, according to Syrian pro-government sources.
An officer of the SAA told SouthFront that 37 T-55, T-62 and T-72 battle tanks were among the heavy weapons that had been handed over to the SAA. Most of these tanks were captured by Jaysh al-Islam during a series of attacks on a large ammo depot of the SAA Republican Guard in 2013 and 2014, according to the officer.
The SAA also recovered more than 15 Syrian-made Maysalun unguided artillery rocket along with a launcher and reload vehicle. The Maysalun rocket is a copy of the Iranian Zelzal-2 rocket. The Maysalun has a range of 210km and a heavy high explosive (HE) warhead.
These Maysalun rockets were reportedly captured by Jaysh al-Islam during an attack on an ammo depot of the Syrian Missile Force in 2013. Jaysh al-Islam fighters had launched a rocket of this type on the Syrian capital, Damascus on February 23.
According to the SAA officer, other weapons including large numbers of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), mortars, artillery rounds, Grad rockets along with military communication equipment were also handed over to the SAA.
Syrian pro-government sources said that most of Jaysh al-Islam fighters will join the pro-government Nation Defense Forces (NDF) instead of withdrawing to the opposition-held areas in northern Syria.
According to local observers, for the last three years these fighters have been a mostly neutral force and have not even followed orders from the Jaysh al-Islam leadership. Most of these fighters also cooperated with the Syrian Intelligence against ISIS in the period between 2014 and 2017.