Two Syrian rebel groups sign ceasefire agreement in Qatar
Jaysh al-Islam fighters in Eastern Ghouta. (AFP/File)
Jaysh al-Islam and al-Rahman Legion reached a reconciliation agreement to end the fighting between them in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta suburbs.
The ceasefire was agreed upon by the two groups after a series of negotiations held in Doha sponsored by Qatar. The Syrian opposition said that such an agreement paves the way for united fronts in Eastern Ghouta.
Jaysh al-Islam issued a statement announcing a complete ceasefire agreement under the patronage of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) chief coordinator Riad Hijab.
The statement, signed by Jaysh al-Islam spokesperson Islam Alloush, announced that representatives of both groups met in Doha and agreed on ceasefire, illegality of fighting between groups, release of all detainees, end of media instigations, opening of roads to civilians, returning civil institutions to their owners, and the formation of a court agreed upon by both parties.
The statement revealed that the agreement was done between Jaysh al-Islam commander Isam Bowaydani and al-Rahman Legion leader Abdul Naser Shumair.
Since April, over 500 people have been killed in the fighting between Jaysh al-Islam and al-Rahman legion. Their rift has been exploited by the Syrian regime to recapture territory in the area. All previous attempts at mediation had failed to halt the fighting.
Jaish al-Islam is part of the opposition HNC and one of the biggest rebel groups and dominant factions in the Eastern Ghouta. Al-Rahman Legion receives support from supporters of al-Nusra Front.
According to member of the Revolutionary Command Council Ismail Al-Darani, this agreement is official, final, and will be executed unlike previous agreements.
Al-Darani told Asharq Al-Awsat that this deal now is obligatory for both parties and hasn’t been opposed to by al-Nusra Front that sent al-Rahman Legion commander to negotiate.
Al-Darani stressed that such an agreement will unite all of fronts in Eastern Ghouta, saying that this will be a test for both parties. The Council member admitted that things in Eastern Ghouta are not very comforting.
Darayya Revolutionary Command Council welcomed any agreement that is within the best interest of the people and ends bloodshed.
There are two military legions in Darayya: Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas Legion and al-Mekdad bin Omar Legion, both affiliated with Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union.
Commander of Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas Legion, Sheikh Abu Malek revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the main reason behind Darayya’s steadfastness is the unity and accord between all military factions in the town.
By Youssef Diab