WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) MESOP INSIGHT : Ghouta rebel alliance hopes to break siege

28-8-2014 – At least six major FSA battalions operating in the outskirts of Damascus announced Wednesday in a videotaped conference the formation of the “United Military Command for East Ghouta,” to coordinate efforts and break the siege imposed on the Damascus suburb since early 2013. The joint command will include, among other factions, Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar a-Sham, Feilaq a-Sham, and the Islamic Union for Soldiers of the Levant, and will be headed by Mohammed Zahran Alloush, leader of Jaish al-Islam. Outside of purely military objectives, the joint command also aims to “support the East Ghouta judiciary council…[and] bring every criminal to account.” The announcement comes two weeks after the regime captured Mleiha, a major setback for rebels that opened the door for Syrian army forces into rebel-held East Ghouta.