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‘Stop Fighting Between Yourselves’: Civilians Pressure Opposition Leadership in East Ghouta

Civil demonstrations call for an end to infighting between opposition factions as the Assad regime steps up its attacks around the capital and in the city of Aleppo
‘Stop Fighting Between Yourselves’: Civilians Pressure Opposition Leadership in East Ghouta

Protests broke out on Tuesday in the opposition-controlled Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, where major clashes between the Army of Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaysh al-Fustat alliance (including Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, and Liwa Fajr al-Umma) have occurred for days, while regime forces continue their attempts to storm the Ghouta fronts and bombard its residents.

Local media activists published images on Facebook and Twitter of Eastern Ghouta residents protesting in the districts of Douma and Masarba, demanding that the factions stop fighting each other and instead focus attention on the regime’s attempts to exploit the division by attacking the opposition’s fronts in Damascus and Aleppo. Protesters raised signs, one of which read: “Oh Aleppo, forgive us, we’re killing each other with our own hands.”

A media activist in the Eastern Ghouta, Baraa Abdel Rahman, said on his Facebook page that residents were still mobilizing protests from Saqba, Kafrbatna, Hamouziyeh, and Masraba, noting that protesters “are chanting for the end of fighting and for turning the guns back toward the regime, and taking down the checkpoints.”

The infighting between opposition factions has had a negative effect on civilians, who are calling for an end to the confrontations as several parties have carried out efforts to stop the clashes. The Syrian Islamic Council, which includes religious leaders, presented a plan to reduce the tension between the factions.

The plan provided for an immediate ceasefire, a halt to the media escalation between the rival parties, a return of affairs before the “fitna” (strife) – in terms of headquarters and possessions, and an end to all displays of military positioning, like the checkpoints, and siege of the bases, and for releasing all prisoners. In addition to an announcement by “all sharia and popular institutions and notables of a rejection of the internal fighting and decisively addressing this “fitna,” according to the council’s statement.

The Army of Islam and the other noted factions have exchanged accusations about the reasons for the current fighting. Each party has claimed it was attacked by the other, while civilians are still suffering from the regime’s bombardment on one side, and now the divisions between the opposition factions on another.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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