DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:35 P.M.) – Former militants of Eastern Ghouta and the al-Qaeda-linked group in Idlib have been recently engaged in a series of arrest campaigns; portending a new bloody infighting between the two old foes.
Having undergone an all-out regrouping and reorganizing process, Jaish al-Islam rebel group launched a full-scale crackdown against Nusra militants who had fought them years ago in Eastern Ghouta region.
In 2016, both Salafi-oriented groups were caught in heavy infighting in Eastern Ghouta, which had killed up to 500 fighters from both sides.
The Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam was evacuated from its stronghold of Eastern Ghouta as per a surrender agreement with the Syrian Army last March.
In response, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham set up checkpoints and arrested several Jaish al-Islam fighters. Up to 50 militants from both warring parties have been arrested during the last two months.
The recent escalated tensions might evolve to a full-scale infighting similar to those broke out earlier among various rival insurgent factions.
However, local sources spoke about a tendency among Nusra leadership to cool things off to avert a potential war in which Syria Liberation Front (the arch enemy of HTS) will definitely join the fight alongside Jaish al-Islam.