In the second time within two weeks, a car bomb exploded in a popular market in Duma the largest city of Eastern Ghouta, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries last month. As always, no group publicly claimed responsibility for the incident.
Hussam Addin, a young man from Douma witnessed the incident and helped some of the wounded. He described the scene at the moment of the explosion by saying that it was like "the doors of hell openingfrom every direction".
“I saw flying burned body parts. We collected some from the roofs and others from up to hundreds of meters away, thrown by the force of the blast. I carried a child who had his leg amputated from the thigh and he was screaming for his mother. His partly burned wound was bleeding profusely,” Hussam said.
Blame was pointed at the Islamic State (ISIS) for the first bomb car fourteen days ago, but there was no evidence, claim of responsibility or confirmation for the second and opinions varied about who had executed it. While the Army of Islam accused ISIS of being behind the bombing, many doubted it.
Due to the small number of ISIS fighters in Ghuota, especially compared to the capabilities of the regime and its penetration of the besieged Eastern Ghouta region for more than a year and a half, and because the regime forces have surrounding Ghouta from every side. These facts led to claims that the regime planted the bomb and leaked information by some residents and militaries that has previously confirmed the involvement of the Assad regime in killing civilians.
A war in Eastern Ghouta seems to be on the horizon between Islamist factions on the one hand and ISIS on the other, while the regime watches from afar, throwing coals on the fire of a war in which it would be the biggest winner.
Some people are afraid to express those concerns because of ISIS’ crimes in other areas. However, igniting the fire of war in Ghouta will only increase the burdens, fears and sacrifices of its residents.
The signs of war are getting clearer, especially after the leader of the Army of Islam, Zahran Alloush, accused ISIS of committed huge crimes and saying they should be punished for them. The strong statement that he made accused ISIS about killing the people of Ghouta amounted to a declaration of war. But ISIS issued a statement denying any killings or of targeting Ghouta’s people. It said that all Islamist factions are its brothers, and it won’t point its weapons towards anyone but those whom it calls “The apostates who advocate for civil rights”.
Tensions between the two parties have increased since the killing of Anas Quaider, a former ISIS judge in Eastern Ghouta, and his mother, after he defected from ISIS and joined the Army of Islam, as well as the killing of Kareen Kallash, an ISIS leader in Eastern Ghouta.
Captain Abd Alrahman Alshami, the Army of Islam's spokesman, described the characteristics and the size of ISIS in Eastern Ghouta, saying ISIS in Ghouta is the same as ISIS in North Syria, their leaders are foreign but the members are from the local populations. They are centralized in Saqba and Hamuriah in Eastern Ghouta, and they also have some presence in Al-Ashari and Harasta, but their numbers are no more than 400 and they don’t have a large popular support base because of the massacres they’ve committed in the north.
One local resident spoke about how ISIS recruits its members: “It is money, and brainwashing. In such a besieged place, where people die from hunger every day, especially in the far hungry besieged villages, how could a hungry, unemployed youth refuse a thousand dollars?!"
Meanwhile, the people of Eastern Ghouta are anxiously awaiting a potential detonation that could take their lives, or the war that may ignite against ISIS, while their eyes are looking skyward for the MiG planes that bombs them daily, their empty stomachs and their besieged cities, wondering how to survive all this death.