In a statement released yesterday Sunday by the Southern Front, the First Army officially announced that no mutual cooperation will be carried out whatsoever with the recently-established Jaysh Al-Fateh in southern Syria.
“The First Army hereby reiterates its commitment to the Southern Front. The credit for the great achievements must be given to the factions of Free Syrian Army (FSA). We confirm that no action or cooperation shall be done with Jaysh Al-Fateh”, the statement read.
Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) in southern Syria is a newly-formed alliance of forces, most notably the Islamic Movement of Ahrar Al-Sham, Fateh Al-Sham, and al-Qaeda Syrian branch Jabhet al-Nusra.
Only hours after it was officially formed, the new alliance launched a fresh battle to ‘liberate’ the western Ghouta. The Army’s fighters are now reportedly clashing with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF) in various towns of the bordering Quneitra province.
The statement can be seen as attempt by rebels to detach themselves from Jabhet al-Nusra and other hardline groups. In their latest push to take over Al-Tha’la airbase to the west of Daraa, rebel groups excluded al-Nusra from the operation after massacring more than 22 Druze villagers in Idlib countryside days earlier. This, according to pro-rebel sources, has significantly prompted the Druze community in Sewida to rule out any initiative to coordinate with the rebels and further join the government troops in defending the province.