East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016)

This article is about the inter-rebel conflict in East Ghouta. For the concurrent government offensive, see Rif Dimashq offensive (April 2016).
East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016)
Part of the Rif Dimashq Governorate campaign and the inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War
Date18 April – 24 May 2016 (1 month and 6 days)
LocationEast Ghouta, Rif Dimashq Governorate, Syria
Result Ceasefire[1]

Jaish al-Fustat[2]

Al-Rahman Legion[3][1]

  • 1st Brigade[2]

Jaysh al-Islam

  • Air Defense Brigade[2]
Commanders and leaders
Wael Alwan (Al-Rahman Legion spokesman)[4] Qais a-Shami (JaI spokesman)[4]
Casualties and losses
500–700 fighters on both sides and 12 civilians killed[5][6]

The East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016) was an armed conflict between the rebel coalition of Jaish al-Fustat, consisting of the al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman, and the rebel group Jaysh al-Islam, that occurred in the rebel-held territories east of Damascus. Tensions between the two groups took place since March 2016, when Faylaq al-Sham expelled Jaysh al-Islam in Zamalka after absorbing the Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union in February.[7]

Prelude – Clashes in Jisreen

On 18 April 2016, the al-Rahman Legion launched an attack on Jaysh al-Islam headquarters in the town of Jisreen, capturing the headquarters.[8]

Open conflict

Fighting starts

On 28 April, Faylaq al-Sham and Jaish al-Fustat attacked Jaysh al-Islam positions in six towns in eastern Ghouta, including al-Qabun and Zamalka,[9] resulting in the former's air defence brigade defecting to Jaysh al-Islam. Ahrar ash-Sham denied involvement in the conflict and remained neutral. Due to the fighting, the residents of East Ghouta demonstrated, calling for an end of rebel infighting.[2]

Attack on Misraba and ceasefire

On 8 May, Jaish al-Fustat, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Faylaq al-Rahman attacked the Jaysh al-Islam-held village of Misraba. By this time, Jaysh al-Islam mainly controlled the northern areas of East Ghouta, while Jabhat al-Nusra controlled the south.[10] Jaysh al-Islam also raided several pharmacies, and a doctor was killed by stray bullets. By the next day, a ceasefire agreement was signed which mandated Jaysh al-Islam to withdraw from Misraba, which was then to be controlled by a neutral police force.[4] Still, despite the declared ceasefire, fighting continued and by 17 May, more than 500 fighters on both sides and a dozen civilians had been killed in the fighting in East Ghouta.[5] A new ceasefire agreement was declared on 24 May 2016.[1]


In mid-June, a new round of fighting left more than 30 fighters dead on both sides.[11]

On 22 July, during a new government offensive in East Ghouta, the Al-Rahman Legion attacked the Jaysh al-Islam-held "Office of Damascus Countryside" in Saqba, resulting in the deaths of nine rebels.[6]


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