Jaish al-Islam ‘trying to end IS presence in Qalamoun’

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A coalition of rebel fighters pushed Islamic State forces out of their positions on a mountain in east Qalamoun in a battle that aims to “open up the supply route from the north” and assist rebels in their campaign eliminate IS from the Qalamoun region a rebel spokesperson told Syria Direct on Wednesday. “Our targeted area of operations has an important strategic aspect—to open the supply route from Syria’s north, and to be a staging ground for military operations against both the Islamic State and the regime,” said Jaish al-Islam spokesman Islam Aloush. “Jaish al-Islam is trying to end the IS presence in Qalamoun, but this is a very difficult mission,” Aloush added. Assorted rebel forces brought up reinforcements from East Ghouta, southern Damascus and Daraa to assist in the offensive against IS in the eastern Qalamoun mountains, which overlook the road between Damascus and Homs. “The battle in Qalamoun will have a positive effect on East Ghouta if its goals are accomplished and [rebels] capture the targeted areas,” Amar al-Hassan, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council in East Ghouta told Syria Direct on Wednesday.