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by Fadi Dahouk
The state of stubbornness that reined on the field conditions in Syria started to break, that could be read through many data, most notably the extension of the opposition’s influence in the north by defeating the regime in Idlib, and re-adjusting the military action, and the war strategies for the battles in Daraa, and pushing it through fighting to control more useful areas, like Bosra al-Sham, which was a harmful enclave against the rebels in Daraa.
On the 18th of last month, the leader of the Islam Army Zahran Allouch arrived to Turkey, arriving from the besieged Eastern Ghouta. And once his pictures spread in Turkey, a pandemonium prevailed about the oncoming of the battle of Damascus and the appearance of an international resolution of getting rid of Bashar Al-Assad. And the thing that increased this pandemonium was other pictures broadcastings that showed Allouch and the leaders of Skoor Al-Sham, previously, that fall currently under the wings of the Ahrar al-Sham movement, Ahmad Al-Sheikh, and the prince of the “Ahrar” movement, Hashem Al-Sheikh.
It is important to say that the only important thing in the published image of the princes of the Islamic factions in Syria, is Zahran Allouch, considering that the others have been taking Turkey as a room for their actions for a long time, it’s also a headquarter for their offices.
Since the corrosion of the last stable image of the regime’s security department (Rustom Ghazali – Rafiq Shihadeh – Ali Mamlouk) following the killing of the crisis cell, the Islam Army leader has moved from the stage financing faction by that department brokered by the financial front of Rami Makhlouf, Mohammad Hamsho and his floating in Ghouta on the other formations account, in return of him cutting the Damascus-Homs road by retreating from the circumference of 81 brigade in Qalamoun, in addition to the many withdrawals in Yabroud and Al-Dukhanya, and the imposition of the decision to withdraw from Maliha, and the partnership with the regime in the siege on Eastern-Ghouta by raising the prices rates of the merchandises, and curbing the risks and dangers of the formations that controls the areas Barzeh and Qaboun and Teshreen Neighborhood on the capitol, to the stage of presenting his faction credentials to a major regional powers.
For the introduction of the Islam Army as a single force, organized, in the grand Damascus (the capitol and the countryside), Allouch’s forces to expand in the eastern belt of the capitol, and it’s an area that extends from the Barza neighborhood on the north to Ein Tarma ending in the Marj area in Ghouta. And this endeavor has encountered obstacles, most notably the presence of other factions that shares the control on that space of Ghouta with Allouch’s forces. The most prominent of those factions was Al-Rahman legion, and Ahrar Al-Sham, and Al-Oumma army, and the Islamic Union of the Soldiers of Al-Sham.
In a first step, the risk of those factions was finished by shackling it in the Unified Military Command in Ghouta, which was formed late last year, and it forbids the formation of any new military faction in Ghouta, and the upper word in this leadership goes to Zahran Allouch, who appointed the leader of the Islamic Union of the Soldiers of Al-Sham Abu Mohammad Al-Fateh, as his deputy in leadership, and gave to the leader of Al-Rahman legion Abdul Nasser Shumeir, the position of the field commander. As for Al-Oumma army which is the nucleus of the Southern front in Ghouta, its leader Abu Subhi Taha knew well that the goal of the unified leadership was nothing but Allouch Singling out the whole area to himself, so he objected publicly on it during the preparatory meetings for its formation, and that got Allouch to declare war on Taha, while succeeded on melting the Ahrar al-Sham movement inside Al-Rahman legion , which took the decision of integrating with the legion without the approval of the Shura council of the movement in Turkey, taking advantage of its poverty and the lack of its financial stability in Ghouta, which led later to a fight between Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Rahman legion at Erbin Town, after announcing its separation from the legion, then Allouch resolved the dispute by The House of the Unified Judiciary, which issued a fatwa about the inadmissibility of the separation of the movement from the legion, or the permissibility of it in case it surrenders its military gear to Al-Rahman legion, and that thing resolved during the meeting between Zahran Allouch with the movement’s prince, Hashem Al-Sheikh in Turkey 18th of last month, where the information indicates that the agreement requires the movement to get back to the obedience of Islam Army, and its branches in Qunaitra and Daraa must form alliances with it, in order to create a military balance that inhibits a promising attack, and separate, on the capital led by Free Syrian Army’s formations in Daraa and Qunaitra.
After Allouch successfully linked the movements of those forces by an order from the unified military command, he completed his planned expansion towards the capital, so he fought a war against Al-Oumma army at the beginning of the current year, and finished his influence in Ghouta, by what he called Cleansing the Country of Corruption Abomination, which he stroke his opponents with the arm of the Unified Leadership, and Jabhat al-Nusra, and he continued expanding into the neighborhoods of Barzah, Qaboun, and Teshreen Neighborhood, before one day from his arrival in Turkey.
Some read from Zahran Allouch’s last movements a preparation for a major military action in Damascus, which ends on his control over the capital, however, that’s a complement for the Gulf’s countries decision of standing in Iran’s face after unleashing the ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ in Yemen, but these opinion lacked facts that supports it, and everything its owners could get of evidence was simply just a bunch of tweets on Twitter by prominent media and religious personalities in the Gulf, it also drifted many times into falling in big fallacies, especially when it was linked to Allouch’s movements along with the progress of the Free Syrian Army in the south, specifically in Nasib Border Crossing, and Bosra al-Sham where the battle was raging before ‘Operation Decisive Storm’.
In monitoring Allouch’s movements, it must be considered to look to the other side approaching Damascus, which is the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army. And that gives a bigger surrounding to understand the nature of the formations and the goals of the movements on the last field considered in the capital. In the south the gatherings of the Unified Military Command in Ghouta dispute is repressed to some extent, with the south side, especially that leadership eliminated a nucleus on the front in Ghouta, by ending Al-Oumma army and sizing First Major General inside Barzah and Qaboun during the battle that took place recently in these areas against allying members to ISIS. Also the regional parties supporting the south front are ruled by different interests from the regional supporter of Islam Army, and the other big Islamic formations. And Islam Army is considered an Islamic formation, and salafi jihadist, and rules by fatwa, with reference to Free Syrian Army in south, and these literatures has been disposed of in Daraa and Qunaitra to a big extent. So, all this data leads to the context of Islam Army’s attempt to work on the prospect that it’s a national will or Arabic at least, it got formed to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad, and that’s why he needs to extending his influence by relying on possible regional partners; and saying now that achieved that in the meetings he held in Turkey. But the Southern Front, it’s in a completely contradictory line to the ideological configuration of Islam Army, as well as the seeds of rivalry existent between them in the first place, and that’s why they’re far from the mutual work, or alliance, currently.
Major regional changes are happening that will have fallouts on Syria, that’s true, but has the decision of getting rid of Assad been taken? That what’s not clear till now, and if it happens it will be along the lines of the intervention in Yemen, which the Yemeni officials themselves didn’t know about, admittedly by Khaled Bahhah the prime minister, or even on a similar image to the launch of the Arabic-Western Alliance’s operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.