Damascus: rebel commander says ISIS seeks Yarmouk camp capture to favor of regime

| 2016-03-06 13:57:06 zamanalwsl – (Zaman Al Wasl)- A senior rebel commander in southern Damascus suburbs called on rebel groups to defend Yarmouk refugee camp from an imminent fall to favor of the Islamic State. Abu Nafe’e al-Dimashq, commander of Duha al-Islam Brigade, said on Saturday that all rebel factions operating in southern Damascus should prevent ISIS from seizing the Palestinian camp which in control of the Nusra Front and other Islamist groups.

ISIS seeks to capture the camp to handle it to regime forces and allied Palestinian militia in unspoken deal as the radical group plans to leave to Raqqa, its de-facto capital northeastern Syria, Al-Dimashqi added. Last December Jaish al-Isalm disturbed the regime-ISIS deal to allow 1800 ISIS fighters leaving Hajer al-Aswad district.On Friday, ISIS fighters stormed Nusra Front’s checkpoints in the Yarmouk camp, a day after both sides agreed on provisional ceasefire deal and made a prisoner swap, sources said.

ISIS’ surprise attack on Nusra Front targeted al-Oruba checkpoint in Yarmouk camp and posts near the next-door Hajer al-Aswad district.ISIS fighters who control al-Hajar al-Aswad and Nusra fighters who control the next-door Yarmouk camp have repeatedly engaged in skirmishes that left casualties from both sides.Last Thursday, a rare prisoner swap deal conducted between the al-Qaeda Syrian branch and ISIS that took place in Yarmouk camp.The ISIS-Nusra deal called to halt attacks, not targeting commanders of both sides and to release prisoners. The Ultra-hardline group did not reveal the reason behind the attack as activists say ISIS never respected its charter or promises. In relevant development, the U.S. envoy to a coalition fighting the group said on Saturday taht Islamic State is losing a battle against forces arraigned against if from many sides in Iraq and Syria and the focus would turn to stabilizing cities seized back from them.