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Key rebel groups form joint military command in Eastern Ghouta

(Zaman Alwasl)- 5 Rebel factions in the embattled Eastern Ghouta near Damascus have agreed to form a Joint military command and to appoint Islam Army commander as General Chief, days after the fall of strategic Mleiha town by Syrian army forces.

Sources to Zaman Alwasl said rebels in neighboring suburbs of Syria’s capital are in sincere need to have one military body to halt any possible advance for Bashar al-Assad’s forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Shia militias.

The brigades of Ajnad al-Sham (Soldiers of the Levant), Al-Rahman Legion, Ahrar al-Sham, Alhabib al-Mustafa and Islam Army have merged in one armed group called the Unified Military Command in Eastern Ghouta under the leadership of Zahran Alloush,  

Allosh, the controversial leader of Islam Army, who had been accused of kidnapping prominent activist Razan Zeitouneh with her colleagues from his hometown Douma months ago, is struggling to mobilize all rebels in Eastern Ghouta.

The move toward one armed group works under Islam Army banner seemed to be backed by hidden concerns of mounting power of the Islamic Sate (IS), analysts said.

Islam Army fears of losing territory to al-Qaeda splinter group that has captured large swaths in both Syria and Iraq.

Last week, Assad’s forces took control of Mlieha town in a blow to the Islam Army who had held it for more than a year.

 Mleiha’s fall will lead to the fall of other towns into the hands of Syrian army, said an army commander to Reuters. “And that what is pushing rebels to unite ASAP,” activists said.

Zaman Alwasl
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