Syrian opposition fighters attack each other in besieged Damascus enclave

Clashes broke out in part of the densely populated rural area east of Damascus known as Eastern Ghouta. (AFP)
Updated 29 April 2017

Syrian opposition fighters attack each other in besieged Damascus enclave

BEIRUT: Fighting between opposition groups in the biggest insurgent stronghold near the Syrian capital Damascus entered a second day on Saturday, while regime forces pressed an offensive against the besieged enclave, a war monitor said.
The clashes broke out in part of the densely populated rural area east of Damascus known as Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged by Syrian regime forces since 2013.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had documented the deaths of at least 38 fighters in the first 24 hours of fighting between opposition groups. It also reported civilian casualties.
Jaish Al-Islam is pitted against the Failaq Al-Rahman group and fighters from an alliance with links to Al-Qaeda, said opposition fighters, activists and the Observatory.
Fighting between the groups killed hundreds of people last April before a cease-fire was agreed in Qatar in May.
The rift was exploited by Syrian regime forces to capture parts of Eastern Ghouta, whose territory shrank by about a third in the second half of last year.
Jaish Al-Islam is one of the biggest Syrian opposition groups and has been the dominant faction in Eastern Ghouta. Its leader, Zahran Alloush, was killed in an airstrike in December 2015.
A Failaq Al-Rahman statement on Friday said Jaish Al-Islam attacked some of its positions and said the factional fighting was not in the interests of Eastern Ghouta or the Syrian revolution.
A statement by Jaish Al-Islam said its dispute was with the group called Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant Committee), which had been obstructing Jaish Al-Islam members from going about their business.
Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham is an alliance of factions formed in January, whose members include Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, formerly Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front group.
Jaish Al-Islam said it shared the same goals as Failaq Al-Rahman and called on them to contain the crisis.
During the fighting, the regime and allied forces attacked the opposition-held district of Qaboun by land and air.

Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Updated 26 March 2019

Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

  • Israel seized part of the Golan during the 1967 Six-Day War, subsequently annexing it in 1981
  • US President Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019

JEDDAH: Arab states on Monday condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

The decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

Breaking decades of international consensus, Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.