By Naveed Malekafzali (Twitter)
Rif Dimashq - Another round of infighting broke out yesterday in the al-Asha'ri neighborhood of the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta between the rival factions of Jaysh al-Islam (JAI) and Faylaq al-Rahman, the latter faction being supported by Hay'at Tahrir ash-Sham (HTS). The infighting began when HTS/Faylaq al-Rahman fighters launched an attack on Jaysh al-Islam positions in the farmlands of al-Asha'ri, capturing the area and killing seven JAI fighters.
No gains or casualty figures have been reported by either side since the fighting began one day ago, but Jaysh al-Islam has stated that a second attack in the neighborhood by Faylaq al-Rahman and HTS fighters began a little before 9 PM local time on July 8.
While in previous years, Jaysh al-Islam and HTS (previously Jabhat an-Nusrah) were on-off allies and enemies, the tensions exploded into full-on ideological and military conflict in April 2017, where Jaysh al-Islam attempted to take control of the entirety of rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, but the offensive eventually lead to an indecisive stalemate.
Both sides are currently dealing with government offensives on their positions: Faylaq al-Rahman in Jobar and 'Ayn Terma, and Jaysh al-Islam near Hawsh al-Dawahira. These points are located in the southwest and the east of the Eastern Ghouta pocket.